Monday, December 03, 2007

Clawing to Zero

We're clawing our way to zero right now. I'm sure that we'll eventually claw our way past zero, perhaps even up into a comfort zone, but we need to find a way to stop running deficits. I'm working two jobs right now. In fact, I've been working two jobs for the better part of the last 4 months, my show with UMO having been a paid gig that gave us some significant extra income for the months of September and October.

What's frustrating for me is that I see myself as the kind of person who gives to or helps those less fortunate than myself. But I don't have much time to give to those less fortunate if I'm working two jobs, trying to write reviews (for my de facto third job), and trying to write a play and a possible libretto for the rock opera (for which I've found a potential collaborator). And I can't very well give anything material away when I'm trying to claw my way to zero from this pit of debt.

It's hard, faced with money troubles, to think about much of anything but money troubles. A lot of people are inclined to say, "Oh, it's the holidays; we all feel like that." But presents, at this point--whether for 'Stine's birthday or Christmas--are actually the last things on our minds. We're talking rent, here. Power. The phone and DSL. Our trip to visit 'Stine's folks is largely prepaid, which will be quite a blessing, and I don't think either of us have particularly high-falutin' notions regarding gifts this year. We'd just like to make it as smoothly as possible from this year to the next one and to see next year be a little brighter than this one as regards our financial prospects.

Lest this should reek of despair, however, let me not that, well, we ARE both working our asses off, the debt IS shrinking, and if our overdraft charges for the month look suspiciously close to our actual income, well, it only goes to show that we're just one good shot of real money away from stability, that if we could just catch up, maybe speed ahead enough that we could experience a week or two of being flush, our income and expense might actually match (just barely) for the six months or so it will take us to finish our consolidation. Meanwhile, I chant. And rather than chanting for money or wealth--though I do that--I chant to be better able to offer myself to others; to be a better provider; to have the capacity to make others' lives better; to make better, more enduring art. I chant, not to be a richer man, but to be the boddhisatva that a man of my particular aptitudes ought to be.

All right, that's enough of that.

What else to report?

Well, I've been reading the Harry Potter books. I know, I know, I'm a latecomer. I get immersed in my religious and philosophical texts, my art films, my heavy, dissonant music, and I forget how to read for entertainment. So I forced myself to make a go of this, and now I'm done with book 4, and I'm reasonably hooked. The only other reading I've really been doing, on a slow but occasional basis, has been on The Beast of Gevaudan, the definitive compilation of testimonials, letter, and reports on the true-life mystery-monster of the title. Dry but fascinating reading. I'm writing a play on the subject; it's the narrowing down of my scope that's giving me trouble. But no matter. I'll keep reading the book 'til I get the whole picture, then find the threads that fascinate me.

Thoughts are random and scattered, largely as a function of my merciless work schedule (even if the work itself is mercifully--though sometimes maddeningly--straightforward), so I can't grant you any great philosophical insights today. I'm in something of a worry spiral. So forgive the tepid prose and financial woes; I promise to have an honest-to-dog post sometime in the near future.

Think of this as me clearing my throat.