For pretty much the first time in many months, I'm actually feeling bored and caught up enough that I thought I'd turn to ye old blog just for fun. It was either that or randomly surf other people's blogs using the "Next Blog" button, but sometimes you stumble upon unhealthy porn that way, which I don't need. Ever since I finished my novel and got it to press, I've been feeling a peaceful, easy feeling, although it's often tinged with boredom and depression because I don't have more career prospects or direction.
DAY JOB: Not that I don't have SOME things I could be doing, just nothing all that compelling. Here at work, I need to write a couple of scripts for the CEO and work on the magazine, but it's nothing that can't wait till next week. With few real management responsibilities, I'm basically doing the same thing a 25-year-old could do--in fact, I'm basically still doing the same kind of stuff I started doing at the Ensign in 1993, just corporate communications writing and editing stuff, with no supervisory, budgetary, or other managerial-level responsibilities. Not that I really want those, but most guys my age are moving up in responsibility, while I've just laid low and done the minimum while I direct most of my time and energy into my own projects.
Our company recently got purchased from the dysfunctional founding family by an investment company, and rumors are circulating that they're going to do a big housecleaning in January. Part of me dreads getting laid off again, but another part realizes that I'll never get off this corporate plateau, and maybe I need a kick in the butt to make my own way via a combination of adjunct teaching and freelancing. If I could just double my teaching load to two classes per semester and bill an average of 20 hours a week at $45 an hour for freelance writing and editing, I could earn my current salary. Of course, that's without benefits, but I believe my wife could activate the health insurance at her work if I got laid off--otherwise, the health insurance issue would be a huge deterrant to going freelance. Oh, well, I guess we'll see what happens in the future. All I know is that I feel absolutely no ambition whatsoever in this or any other corporate setting I can imagine...
ZARAHEMLA BOOKS: My independent book business certainly ain't going to pay any bills any time soon, but I'm feeling more positive about it than I did a few weeks ago. It feels like hardly any orders are coming in, but when I checked the Zarahemla bank account there was more money than I expected, enough to do at least two or three more books even if no more orders come in. Plus, soon 400 Mormon timeline books will be arriving to my house from China, and if I sell those at a $5.00 markup through Zarahemla, that's another $2,000 in the bank. When my brochure did so poorly, I asked my wife if I should just cash out now and not do any more books, but she said I should go ahead and play it out until it runs out of money, even though I took $2,000 from our home equity line. I've fulfilled almost 100 orders now, and I'm hoping that it will gradually increase as word continues trickling out and more reviews hopefully start appearing. One thing I haven't done yet is call any bookstores, but I'll do a mailing to them next month about this Mormon timeline, and then I'll do some calling and see how many of my titles I can place with how many stores. Frankly, I haven't felt confident that most of the LDS stores would be interested in my edgy fiction titles, which has made me hesitant to bother calling, but the timeline should definitely appeal to most--after all, Deseret and Costco already agreed to carry it. I still feel a little naive and dumb for mailing them all a sample copy of MORMON TABERNACLE ENQUIRER, but oh well--five stores have actually agreed to carry it now, and maybe I'll pick up a few more when I start doing my sales calls next month.
One thing I'm terrible at is reading submissions from authors, because it takes me a long time to read and I have patience to sit and read only about a half-hour a day (strangely, however, if I'm writing or editing a book I can easily focus on it for up to two hours at a time). Fortunately, two fellows volunteered to review submissions for me, and they both are quite aggressive about getting the reading done. One guy has done more reading than I could do in a year in just a month. My trust level for these guys has risen to the point where this past week I made them both editors-at-large and told them they could each have two book slots for 2007 to fill however they see fit. So that takes a huge load off my mind, and I'm curious to see what they do with their slots. I agreed to pay them 5% royalty on my net receipts for books they acquire and edit. As for me, I'd like to keep two books going at all times as far as editing for publication, and I've picked two. I've already read one of the manuscripts, and it's back with the author for revisions. So right now I'm just reading through the other one to get an overall sense of it and make sure I want to do it. But it's written by a nationally published author and it's really quite great, so I'm sure I'll make him an offer in January sometime, when I'm finished reading it.
HEALTH: My arms have been hurting, mostly in the elbow area. It seems to be the tendons and muscles, not the bones or the actual joints. But it's enough that I notice it many times a day, especially whenever I pick something up. I don't know if it's bursitis or arthritis or what. When I noticed two or three bruises on my arms the other day, I got scared that maybe I was starting to develop leukemia, which I'm at higher risk for due to my Hodgkin's disease and treatment. But the bruises went away fast and I haven't noticed any more, and I think the arms are starting to feel a slight bit better but not out of the woods yet. My New Year's resolution is to go in for a full physical sometime soon. I had intended to do it as soon as I turned 40 in October, but I've been putting it off.
Well, that's enough of a journal entry for now. We have all five kids this weekend, and I have to grade papers and figure final grades, plus we have to get a Christmas tree, and there's always plenty of housework to do (I require a fairly tidy atmosphere, so it seems like a lot of my time and energy at home goes into picking up after others and doing some cleaning, especially the kitchen). And I need to spend a couple hours on Zarahemla shipping. If we're lucky, we'll finish watching "The Da Vinci Code" on DVD, which we started last weekend. The problem is that we always start them too late and then fall asleep. Also, I find myself feeling compelling to read regularly from Levi Petersen's frank, enjoyable autobiography, even though it takes away from reading for Zarahemla.
My wife has been distracted lately by remodeling the boys' room downstairs, which took her many hours to repaint the walls and some furniture, but she's finally done, and now she's chipping away at moving stuff out of the basement family room, which has been jam-packed with junk while we've shifted around bedrooms. I helped a little but not much, partly because I don't have the time but also partly because I don't feel inclined to put effort into a basement bedroom that the boys are just going to thrash. As a result of this project, we're very late on setting up Christmas stuff this year, and frankly I'm glad to leave it this late. Not that I do much beyond pulling out the Xmas boxes from under the stairs--I won't even hang the lights outside, which is usually the man's job. If it were up to me, Xmas would be VERY minimal, so if Ann wants to make a bigger production out of it, that's her hobby, not mine. Women seem to feel a lot of guilt and pressure about Xmas, but they seem to really like it too.