Archive for May, 2013

On Odd Jobs and Gainful Employment

I’ve been thinking about work and livelihood lately, in kind of a lazy, drowsy way. I’ve been working since I was about 15. In the personal finance and “new frugality” classic, Your Money or Your Life, one of the steps is figuring out how much you’ve earned over the course of your lifetime so far. You gather up your Social Security statements, your tax returns over the years, even those babysitting jobs when you were a teenager….and the amount is truly astonishing once you tally it up, especially if you’ve spend over half your life working. I’ve been ticking away at this task slowly since I read the book a few years ago (I am slow at this kind of thing) but as I’ve worked through it, it’s brought back lots of memories of the odd, random jobs I’ve had so far.

When I think of the turning points and important things of my life, jobs don’t rate as high as relationships, creative projects, my education and other more emotionally resonant things. They’re just not as sexy. Jobs are mundane, boring, necessities brought about by an often senseless system. Why do people work? my nephew asked me once when he was little. Beyond the usual platitudes, it was hard for me to explain. Most of us just have to. Most of us have to fork over our time and energy to someone else to do things for them, and a huge part of our life is thus given over to something that isn’t fully of our own making — for most of us, at least. As a result, we compartmentalize that aspect of our life, and put it in an airtight container so it has nothing to do with the rest of our life and self. Jobs are already a huge investment; why invest any more beyond professionalism and pride, perhaps? And yet for something we spend so much time upon, it’s interesting we don’t reflect more on its impact on our lives, whether we like it or not. Maybe we don’t because it’s often depressing; but maybe there’s something worth looking at.


On Being Easy With Yourself

I couldn’t sleep last Sunday night. I had no caffeine during the day, and generally everything felt fine when I went to bed at 11PM, the remnants of a thunderstorm rumbling further in the distance as the cool air streamed through my bedroom windows. Post-thunderstorm cool nights are my favorite sleeping weather, and I drifted off to sleep comfortably.

But I woke up at 3AM, feeling hot and stuffy and distinctly uncomfortable. The air wasn’t moving at all anymore, so I put on the fan and went back to sleep. Only…I couldn’t fall back asleep. I had no idea why. My mind wasn’t racing. I felt relaxed. And yet I could not get back to sleep. After while, I got up, puttered around a little like they say for you to do, went back to bed…but still no sleep.

I started to feel stupid-anxious, like Oh my god I NEED to get to sleep, why can’t I sleep, this is so horrible. I could hear the birds chirping now, like they do before dawn. I could feel my body and mind worn out, but I had that weird raw feeling, like all your nerves in your skin are too alive and too sensitive, and even the bed feels wrong beneath you. I could feel myself beginning to agonize and panic, because I had a lot to do on Monday and I didn’t want to do it on so little sleep. Panic, pressure, a buzzing mind: not really the best way I want to start a week.


What to Do With the Remains Of Spring?

I cannot believe it is almost June. Almost halfway through the year! Time: flying by, a whir of days, activity, thoughts, runs in the park, buying groceries, playing auntie, petting tiny Shetland ponies, writing and revising and proofing and re-proofing and re-re-proofing. Time seeps away; time piles up. I can’t keep track sometimes, no matter how much I journal, Instagram, meditate.

This year I want to remember that summer is a time to slow down. Springtime has been so busy: I’ve been gearing up to publish my collection of essays soon, and while I thought this would be a quick, easy project, it has not. I’m embarrassed at my naivete, actually! But the long-winding journey is ending soon, and soon I will hold a final proof in my hand, and soon I will approve it, and soon it will be done, done, done and out, out, out and hopefully some of you will read it and it will live a long, thriving life as a book in the world! I’m so excited, nervous and relieved. Relieved, like a thing that has been clogging up my master to-do list will finally be cleared off. Relieved, because my inner sense of integrity and honor and keeping my own word to myself will be appeased. Relieved, because now I have time to work on new things! But in a nice, slow, leisurely way. Not in a push-push-push, striving kind of manner, but one where I take pleasure in seeing ideas unfurl into concrete shapes, and savor the twists and turns. Summer is savor, and I can’t wait. Here is how I’m inching into the season, while winding down the spring.


Coming Soon: My Book “All Things Glorious and True”

Lately I have been feeling like I have to have all my ducks in a row before I do anything, or have it all polished and perfect, before I talk about it publicly. But then it is paralyzing me from publishing on this blog more. So I’m getting over that, starting…now! Ladies and gentlemen, my book All Things Glorious & True is coming out soon! Here is the book cover:

I’m very excited! It was so thrilling to get the actual proof copy of my book and hold it in my hands, underscoring how beautiful and happy-inducing physical objects are. I held it in my hand and looked at my shiny, pretty cover, and felt the rather substantial weight like a strange miracle, like, Wow, did I really write all these words that are weighing me here? I put it on my bookshelf, right between novels by Simone de Beauvoir and Susanna Clarke, and felt oddly happy at the thought that now I have something that people can nestle onto their own bookshelves. It’s 300 pages long, set in Bodoni and it looks lovely. It’s just kind of amazing to put something that reflects, even a little, my journey of how pop culture and fashion brought me just a bit closer to adventure, beauty and liberation.

The idea of people buying my book is equally thrilling. A tiny bit scary, because a lot of the new material and commentary I added is much more open than I ever was on at NOGOODFORME.com, but still wonderful to contemplate. Getting this out has really brought out my inner perfectionist, but at this point, I just need to move on and get it out.

It will be available on Amazon.com as well as Amazon’s international outposts for all the lovely Europeans, Canadians and other far-flung readers. It will also come to Kindle as well, and I hope to make it available to other booksellers as well.

Just for fun, here is my micro-site for the book: allthingsgloriousandtrue.katasharya.com. It has a description, table of contents and a FAQ; it’s a bit rough at the moment, but it is super-pretty, especially on an iPhone or iPad. I can answer any questions here as well!

Anyway, keep your eye out in this space — I plan on running some giveaways and promotions once the book is launched. Yayness!