09 October 2009

Taking the Reins....Anybody seen the reins?

The counselor at Job1 ("Business & Career Solutions") gave it to me straight: the strength of my resume and breadth of experience are liabilities in the New Orleans job market because it's a "word of mouth" town and people hire people who are (or seem to be) like themselves. I'm not from here, I talk "funny".

He suggested I start attending Franklin Baptist Church, a reportedly progressive-thinking congregation. Many of the members are successful and well-connected--to each other and beyond--in NO. He believes I will find and make the connections I need while simultaneously becoming more familiar and similar to folks here.

Then he opened a box of miscellany and pulled out a Calvin Coolidge quote for me to read:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”

"Persist at what?" I asked.

My imagination seems to have packed up and left town permanently. I don't have an idea. Or, as it's usually phrased "I have no idea."

"God helps those who help themselves" I think. So, damn it, I ought to be doing something. But what?

How many stories have I told about leaving my house and winding up in an interesting situation somewhere on the streets of New Orleans? It's a proven likelihood. The catch is I don't usually leave my house unless I have an appointment, an errand to run -- some specific business in the world. Otherwise, I'm content to stay home. Home is where my heart is and when I love my home, I spend a lot of time there.

I'm out of ideas, completely uninspired about what I can do, from home, to stimulate my personal economy. It's astounding how blank my mental slate is. If I were a writer, I'd call it writer's block. But it's my life so it's a life block. Immobilized. Caught like a fly in resin.

Since I was raised in a Baptist Church, it's likely the culture of Franklin Avenue Baptist will not be strange to me. It will be strange to attend a church for other than spiritual reasons. I don't remember ever doing this before. When the counselor mentioned it (he says he's Catholic) an immediate resistance flared in me--part "I don't do church any more" and part "That would be wrong!"

I haven't counted the idea out of hand.

I notice that perhaps my inspiration is returning; I did, after all, come up with the idea to call a job counselor on my own! And, as is the way here, taking one step has rewarded me with 5 new directional arrows to choose among.

Yesterday a friend (who is a house guest this week) asked a very good question and I felt a little 'ping!' in my brain and, for a couple of minutes, felt myself in a different reality. A reality constructed by my own choices and efforts as always, but the result of having made a different set of choices and efforts in my life. I was the person I might be if I'd made different choices over the last 10 years ...

I was wearing different clothes and my teeth were beautiful. My body was buff and my attitude was positive. I had a car. I had friends in New Orleans, the kind of friends you kiss and hug when you see them. There was a scanner and a regular telephone in my house. I was a good cook and I had a long-time lover with a slow hand (slow eyes, slow tongue, slow breath).

I'm not unhappy. I am, again, as ever, very tired of money-based stress in my life.

Perhaps if I were unhappy or angry or ambitious, I'd be about some passionate strategy and tidily resolve my financial concerns. I'm none of those things. I'm stressed but out of crisis. Uninspired. Alert. Willing but seasoned. Watching to see where the story goes next.

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