Wednesday, January 04, 2006

In the New Year

Last week, in the last hours of the late lamented 37¢ stamp, I sent out a flurry of stories that I hope will develop into a perfect storm of publications.

And, as you can see, I've been practicing asinine metaphors. And studying my Agrippa.

In all, I sent out eight stories last week, including two brand new stories. Added to the two stories I sent out before Christmas, that makes ten (but check my arithetic, I could be wrong). And I just sent out an eleventh story to a magazine whose reading period opened up in January.

I wrote some of these stories two or three years ago and have been steadily sending them out and getting rejections and revising them when editors were kind enough to offer critiques. And like I said, two of them are brand new.

I started one story, called Booker, while I was reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, as mentioned below. I outlined Booker about two years ago, then I wrote the first thousand words in March of 2004. While reading Midnight, I got all inspired and stuff and started writing and two days later there was this finished 14,000 word story sitting in front of me.

The other new story, called The Prettiest Woman in the Room, happened quite beyond my control while I was eating lunch at Taco Smell. I was sitting there reading a collection of Carson McCullers' short stories and giving up on a second bean burrito when this story jumped up and bit me on the buttocks. By four o'clock, the short 1200 word story was finished. Funny when that happens, you know.

So now, I'm writing another long story. I meant to get back to my screenplays and revising a novel, but these shorter things just keeping jumping up and won't be ignored.

I've also been shopping for a new house and learning some important life lessons. One important home-buying lesson is that there are predatory real estate agents out there who buy up foreclosed homes for a third to a half market value, slap some new paint on them and maybe some new carpets and a new fridge and then turn around and try to sell them to you at market price (and once you move in, you still have a ton of shit to fix that couldn't be fixed with that quarter-inch of new paint they put on everything to hide the stains and the mold). Good work if you can get it because the only work involved is having access to those foreclosed home listings and having the money in hand to buy them and a gang of undocumented workers to slop a little paint around for you. But for those of us actually looking for a house to buy and live in and raise a family it makes it difficult to get a good deal on a home.

And getting a good deal is important, because the price of houses (and everything else) keeps going up, but not our salaries, so we have to make do on less and less. When buying a new house, I'm looking for a lower payment than what I am paying now because I know it could be two or three years before I get another raise and by that time the cost of groceries will have gone up another 50% and the cost of gas will have doubled again and I won't even be able to maintain. So I have to find a house at below market because the housing market is ridiculously overinflated. Housing in some areas where I am looking has gone up 30%-40% in just the last four years. My health insurance costs have tripled in the same amount of time. And I have added two children to the payroll. Then you have to make sure you're in a good school district or else send the kids to private school and now you're back in the hole again even if you got a good deal on the house.

So, in other words, Happy New Year suckers.

3 comments:

Len said...

When buying a new house, I'm looking for a lower payment than what I am paying now because I know it could be two or three years before I get another raise and by that time the cost of groceries will have gone up another 50% and the cost of gas will have doubled again and I won't even be able to maintain. So I have to find a house at below market because the housing market is ridiculously overinflated.

I dunno. I'm thinking of just holding tight in my rental until the housing bubble bursts. If I'm still employed once the resultant economic crisis stablizes, then housing costs should be reasonable again.

That remark is ha ha only serious....

Jeff said...

What you say is true, except I'm already in an overpriced home, so when the housing bubble bursts, I won't be able to sell it without losing a ton of money. That's why I have to get out now.

Jeff said...

What you say is true, except I'm already in an overpriced home, so when the housing bubble bursts, I won't be able to sell it without losing a ton of money. That's why I have to get out now.