Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Humongous Christmas Present

This Christmas was a weird Christmas. For the whole month I was home all day every day because of my knee injury. With short-term disability, I can't work. And the orthopedic surgeon said it'd take nine months to let the torn meniscus heal. With no worker's compensation, no income, and no unemployment benefit as a self-employed interpreter, I looked for sources for "income." I checked out a couple of emergency funds for writers sites and found myself unqualified: writers who would get help must be published authors. I had some publication credits, but that's not enough. Then, through Fidelma at Artist Trust who gave me an e-address. It turned out to be The Dramatist Guild in NYC. I used to be a member, but currently I'm not. So I wondered if I was qualified but gave it a try anyway, sending Sue a letter and a copy of my artist's resume. I got a response asking me to fill out the form. I was still not sure if I'd get it.

Yesterday, December 26, I received a letter from the Guild. Before I opened it, I suspected it was a rejection letter. To my surprise, it came with a check! I wanted to cry. The grant became my biggest Christmas present I'd ever received. The help I received did not only touched my heart but also encouraged me to keep writing. I will.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Gainful Loss II

It's been the fourth weekend since I was laid up with my knee injury. I was so active before the accident: I went to my interpreting assignments by bus and on foot, braving all kinds of weather--95 degree heat, gust, pouring rain, cold, and the combination of some of these, such as cold with rain and wind. Now I don't have to go through all this for a while but stay home and work on my writing. Writing full-time is what every writer yearns for. So, Wes said my injury is a blessing in disguise. I myself strongly believe this must have some sort of meaning, and something good will come out of it; as to what it is, I can't predict.

For the past four weeks, I've put Chinese philosophy and Buddhism into good use. I'm grateful to my illiterate mother for having given me an education that gave me the ability to not only read ancient Chinese books but dig deep into Chinese philosophy.

And, I can't end this without saying thank-you to Wes for all his support.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Gainful Loss

Three days before Thanksgiving I had an "accident" between my interpreting assignments--a trip and fall on the sidewalk--which left me with a badly injured knee. I considered that Monday my personal black Monday; ironically it was in the same week of Black Friday. Unlike Black Friday, my black Monday would turn my bank account into red, not black. The reason? I am self-employed as an on-call interpreter and thus I am not covered under worker's compensation, nor can I apply for unemployment benefits during the period of having a short-term disability.

My loss of income did cause me concern. However, I succeeded in turning the misfortune into my advantage. For three weeks, I've been productive in writing. Before long, I'll have my work sent out to writing competitions. For me it's a gainful loss. There's a gain in a loss, and there's a loss in a gain.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Not Escapism

When Wes told me The Road, the movie, didn't have a wide release, I was surprised. Based on a best-selling novel and a Pulitzer Prize winner, the movie wasn't open in most of the theatres. After giving it some thoughts, I came to see why. Its gloominess doesn't fit the mood of our time. It's not a movie that people would want to watch to lose themselves in the fictional world for a couple of hours. Although it deals with courage and love, the image of what our world would come to is too bleak, and too horrific.

However, The Road, the book was a best seller. When the book came out in 2006, the unemployment rate wasn't above 10%. Timing is everything.