Up-and-down days; support groups

I had a bit of a down day yesterday. Possibly, it had to do with having to go visit the unemployment office in Flushing. They want us to remember that we’re actually supposed to be looking for work while “on the dole.” (Although I’m not really “on the dole”–in NY you pay into the system while you’re working; it’s not “public assistance”).

And also … it was supposed to be a simple, quick train ride from Bayside to Flushing on the Long Island Railroad. I hardly ever take the train, least of all in the morning, so how was I supposed to know that the 8 a.m. departure was an Express?!

And so it was: Go straight to Manhattan, do not stop at Flushing, do not collect $200…

If there was an announcement about it being an Express train, I didn’t hear it. I think I was too busy marveling at the way all the commuters on the platform had organized themselves into tight little packs right around where the train doors open when it stops. So efficient, so organized. Rather scary, actually, but I guess that’s the way they do things on the LIRR.

I stood in the doorway the whole ride into the city, since it was crowded and I didn’t feel like hustling for a seat. Later, I laughed (to myself) at the suited gent who, approaching Manhattan, got up and positioned himself a few inches closer to the door than I was, ensuring he’d be the very first one off. I guess it was really important to him.

However, there was a conductor … thank you so much, kind sir … who gave me a break and wrote a little note on my ticket ensuring I could get right back to Queens on the next train from Penn Station. No additional charge, no rushing to the ticket machine to waste more time/money getting another (#%@$!#!) ticket. And I still got to keep my original ticket for my return trip from Flushing to Bayside.

Unemployment was uneventful. They were all right with my lateness; I’d called them from Penn Station and all was well. Like the others, I sat quietly in my little school desk with folded hands until I was called for my “consultation” (resume looks fine; good luck and goodbye).

I wasn’t hugely depressed, but I had a general feeling of malaise about a few little things, such as where I’m going career-wise and writing-wise. I want to write fiction, but it’s coming out poorly. Yes, according to me, but my opinion does count a little! But I am writing, so that’s good.

Anyway, today on Twitter I came across a group called “The Insecure Writer’s Support Group,” run by writer Alex J. Cavanaugh. This is his description:

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time.

Below this there is a long list of others’ blogs that you can go read.

Wow, I love it. Exactly what I could use right now. I am very willing to help other writers (even if I feel like a wanna-be far too often), and if I’m reading others’ blogs, even if my purpose is to help myself, I’m surely gaining insight and inspiration along the way.

So, I think I’ll go off on a little side track now and do what Alex suggested.

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