June so far

Jun. 9th, 2014 12:12 pm
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Today I am working on the balcony, in my new rocking chair, with tea. Joe is out at WORK in an OFFICE earning MONEY. Life is pretty good.

BEA was excellent! I had one day of meetings, one day of interesting seminars about translation and representing books in translation, and one day of wandering around looking at stands and picking up free books. They have a LOT of free books at BEA, which I wasn't expecting - it's a completely different kind of fair from the rights fairs I'm used to. I was extremely restrained and only picked up about fifteen. One of my colleagues came home with ninety.

I was a bit nervous before my meetings started and I felt pretty sure I was going to do something wrong, but it turns out that pitching books is a skill that comes back to you very quickly, and one I really enjoy practising. I had some good meetings and got some good interest in my books, so I'm hopeful that I might even earn some commission one of these days. Meanwhile, I am still applying for every part-time job I feel remotely qualified for, and getting absolutely nowhere but trying not to give up. Somebody will have to hire me one day, right?

BEA was fun and I enjoyed getting to know my colleagues a bit better, but I have to say that New York is not as good as I was expecting it to be. It is big and dirty and mostly smells like wee, and the subway is unnecessarily complicated and everybody around you is constantly talking about how great everything is there and you really can't see what they mean. Though I guess it was never going to be my kind of place, given that I am the kind of person who has had plenty of opportunity to live in London and Tokyo, and has opted to live in Toronto instead. And it was so lovely to drive back up from New York state and finally see Toronto's tiny skyscraper district with the CN Tower gleaming in the middle of it all, and think 'yay, nearly home!'. I feel more at home here now, for missing it then.

We celebrated Shavuot a couple of days after I got back home, which was excellent timing (I'd been staying up until 4am most nights in New York, so tikkun leil was really easy!). Joe's job hadn't started yet, so he even agreed to join me at tikkun leil for the first time ever! The JCC here is walking distance from our apartment, so it was so easy to wander down there for the start of the evening sessions, and then back home at dawn to sleep. My favourite session was one on Lot's wife in midrash and contemporary fiction and poetry, but there was also an excellent one on creating intentional Jewish community, a few good guided chevrutah sessions, and a trivia session which I went to because Joe wanted to but ended up really enjoying. The only slight letdown was the one on queer Jewish philosophy which sounded really interesting but ended up being basically the same old discussions about buttsex, again. And in between sessions there was copious food (including really good cheesecake) and masses of loose-leaf tea courtesy of David's Tea (I managed to score a nearly-full tin of delicious blueberry black tea which was left over at the end of the night, hurrah), and FRIENDS who go to our new shul and are kind and geeky and fun to talk to, and keep introducing us to their friends. We had a little closing ceremony on the JCC roof at dawn, and I watched the sun rise over my new city and it was just wonderful.

I can't believe it's already been a week since then. I took it easy the day after Shavuot, and then dived right back in to BEA followup, part-time job applications and other work-type stuff. Joe got the call about his job on Friday - through extensive badgering of an agency, he managed to get three months of temp work as an assistant accountant for a non-profit just down the road from us, starting pretty much immediately. It's not going to be hugely challenging for him, but he will get Canadian Experience which will hopefully enable him to apply for more interesting jobs afterwards. He called me at lunch and told me that actually it's been interesting so far, and he's enjoying learning what it's like working for an actual company as opposed to an accountancy firm. And oh my goodness, it's such a relief to have some money coming in. We're lucky enough to have a decent pile of savings so we weren't in dire straits just yet, but it was unpleasant not knowing when (if ever) either of us was going to start earning again. And then on Saturday we spent a gloriously sunny day wandering around a nearby street festival (there are street festivals all the time here) - we meant to get there before lunchtime, but when we were halfway there we spotted a beautiful old white rocking chair by the side of the road with a note on it saying 'help yourself' (this is another brilliant thing that happens all the time here), so we had to take it home and install it on the balcony and then go out all over again. And in the afternoon we discovered a new tea house which we intend to go to ALL OF THE TIME. It's all rugs and cushions and cosy nooks and lovely art on the walls, and they have board games and a twenty-five-page tea menu. It's everything I could ever want in a cafe, really, and I am already excited about dropping by again next weekend with a book (a recreational book not a work book) and just sitting there all afternoon reading and drinking interesting tea.

Today, as I said, I'm on the balcony with my computer. This morning was emails and job applications, and I think this afternoon will have to be more manuscripts. My boss has a YA manuscript he wants me to submit to some foreign publishers, and I have to see if I think it'll work or if I should go ahead with another manuscript I was planning to submit instead. I have missed publishing so much, I can't even tell you. I wish I could pick a career that paid the sodding bills for once, but I could definitely spend my two years in this country as a receptionist-and-literary-agent, or a shop-assistant-and-literary-agent, or anything really as long as I could keep agenting and maybe set myself up to do more agenting back in the UK. I am just exactly where I want to be right now, and it is a good feeling.

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