Tag Archives: literature

When new to the neighborhood

Everyone at my new restaurant job is amazed I have only been in town one week. Not that I would relocate from New York to Los Angeles, because at least half of the nice folks I’ve met have done this. Everyone is amazed that I found a job “so fast.” Within a week! How lucky! They say.

We moved into the bare three-room apartment on Saturday night. On Thursday, I went to an open interview at a restaurant and was offered the “opportunity to train” as a serving bartender. The following day, I secured a counter position at a noodle shop opening next month. In between, I’d peppered the town with resumes, gotten dressed up and smiled through open calls. I made E pull over en route to pick up freecycle furniture because I spied “help wanted” signs from the car window. I had, in short, been hustling. It’s what I do best.
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Love vs. Influence

At our first meeting this term, my workshop instructor, Heidi, told us to come back next week with a list of our “artistic DNA,” ten works of literature that we felt most informed, influenced, or inspired our own work. She had been talking about Jonathan Lethem’s “The Ecstasy of Influence” and the dreaded question of originality. I’m not particularly bothered by whether or not originality is possible; I know what I’m doing has been done, continues to be done, millions of times by people more and less eloquent than I am. I’m not here to compete with them…that’s too hard! Are you kidding? I’m just here to contribute. Nothing wrong with throwing another one on the pile.

The main issue of the assignment was the list: I was going to have to assess my own style and see how it stacks to others’. Which is also hard.
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