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Notes from a Crusty Seeker

Why I Didn’t Write the Great American Novel Last Week

I would have. Really. I have a great idea and I even started on it about a month ago after I got canned from my job. (Please don’t tell the Unemployment Office, because they might dock me for self-employment.) I wrote a few pages on the computer, but then the sound of the fan — that relentless mechanical shriek — made me stop. Then I wrote some pages longhand, but I ended up with so many cross-outs and arrows that I couldn’t read it.

Then there was the man in my bathroom. Just try doing your morning ablutions with a tile guy three inches away renovating the apartment on the other side of your wall. Bathroom rituals and writing go hand in hand, so no way could I write the great American novel last week.  Read More 
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The New World of Finance

“In consideration of your opening one or more accounts for me (‘we,’ ‘us’ and ‘our’ are each substituted for ‘I,’ ‘me’ and ‘my,’ respectively, in the case of multiple account holders, corporations, and other entities), and your agreeing to act as broker/dealer for me for the extension of credit and in the purchase of …”

“Do I really have to read all this?” I ask Jose R. Baez, the bright-eyed ex-Naval officer, present-day financial adviser who is doing the paperwork to shift my considerably diminished annuity from a fixed income account to something with a roll-up or roll-over or is it a let’s-roll-and-don’t-worry-about-nothing guarantee?  Read More 
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The Unemployment Diet: How to Lose 51 Pounds in 30 Days

1. Ignore the experts and for one week only wallow in the seven stages of grief about losing your job: paralysis and denial, pain, guilt and anger, loneliness, etc., etc. (If you don’t know what they are, don’t worry about it; you’ll still go through them). Then get over it. (10 pounds)

2. Register for and start collecting Unemployment Insurance. Realize that you can no longer afford most of the food you were eating, let alone sitting in a restaurant. (5 pounds) Read More 
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Fierce Giving

Fierce Grace came to mind as I entered the New York Blood Center a couple of days ago. Fierce Grace is filmmaker Mickey Lemle’s deeply moving documentary about spiritual pioneer Ram Dass after his stroke. When it came out in 2002, I watched it about five times because I had a screener copy from the job I was at. I wish I had it now. Fierce Grace alludes to the transcendent goodness in the brutal events that eventually move us into wisdom.

When I heard that the blood banks in New York City were literally dry, I was overcome with fierce compassion.  Read More 
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Chaos Help

“Advancements always come from chaos,” said the carpenter as the little house-like structure he’d made of carefully stacked three-inch pencils toppled to the table. This was yesterday in the Orientation room at the NYC Department of Labor … where I and 60 other battered, depressed, resentful, tired, or slightly drunk, recently unemployed people shared each other’s company. Read More 
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Starting Anew

Like a lot of people, I have to learn the same things, as if for the first time, over and over. Today I re-learned that when you're in a funk, connection and action can totally transform you. I was recently laid off from my job at Spirituality & Health magazine, and to say I've been grieving is an understatement. But what a difference friends and action can make.

For a treasure trove of possible work activities, I recommend Idealist.org. I ran into an opportunity there that inspired me to contact an old book design colleague. She said "Yes!" to partnering on a job bid. (For a fabulous designer, check out Davidson Design, Inc.)

For a feeling of community and lots of help, check out Linkedin.

Life is good when you've got friends and action. Happy New Year.











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