New City, New Job

Pop quiz: How long has it been since I’ve updated this blog?

The correct answer is, “Too Long.”

Moving is hard, you know? You’re in a new place, and you have to establish new routines and fight twice as hard to do all the things you had only just figured out how to do at the place you left behind. I also have a new job, and that’s been really taking it out of me. Eventually it will be a three-day-a-week job, but they’ve been giving me almost forty hours these past few weeks while I’m training. It’s been two years since I last worked forty hours a week, so that alone is exhausting. Worse, I have to wake up at 4:30 in the morning  to get to work on time, and I’ve never had to do that before. Also, the job itself is really overwhelming right now. It’s a lot of fun and I love meeting people and driving around the city and I’m determined to learn how to do it as best as I can—but finding my way around Portland (Maine!) is really tough right now. I don’t have the most sophisticated sense of direction to begin with (understatement alert) and, besides a few well-worn routes, the city is entirely new to me. I’ve borrowed my parents’ GPS, and that will get me where I need to go, but it doesn’t know anything about which side of the street you need to be on to pull the bus up to the curb, or which streets you should never drive down when you’re on a schedule because of all the stoplights. Also, did I mention the bus is huge? Eventually, when I get my own route, I think I’ll be driving a minivan, but I’m training on one of the small buses and backing that thing up is terrifying. I’m getting better, but still. At this point, because navigation is such an issue, I pretty much need to spend one to two hours the night before studying my route on google maps. That’s right, folks: I landed a day-job with homework.

Heh, this blog post went the way all my conversations have gone over the past week or so. It’s just, the job is all I’ve been doing, so it’s all I really have to talk about. And even though it’s tiring and stressful and overwhelming right now, I am so grateful to have a job, and I’m so grateful it’s this one. Everything’s a little harder at the beginning, is all. And it is challenging. Of the five of us who were hired at the same time, one already dropped out because he didn’t like the job. Out of the eight hired a month or so before us, only five stayed beyond the first few weeks. So I think if I just stick with it, and put as much time into learning my routes and studying the roads as possible, I’ll (eventually) be all set. And in the meantime, I’m really grateful for weekends.

Maine hit the nineties yesterday. It was glorious. I went for a four mile run in the absolute hottest part of the day, after guzzling some coffee and making some headway on Wanderlust book II. What I NEED to be doing are the illustrations for Wanderlust I, but progress on something is better than no progress at all. I went to the library, and started reading a middle-grade book called Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr. It’s really good so far, and the illustrations are excellent. Then I went to the beach with Lady Anne, which was marvelous and will hopefully be a much-repeated experience over the course of the summer. I went for an equally lengthy run this morning, found a church with music I really liked, and then cooked fried plantains for lunch. I’m sitting at my desk now, about to [make a valiant attempt to] spend some time with those Wanderlust illustrations before I devote the rest of my evening to studying and making lunches for the week. Preferred bedtime is 8 O’clock, but if I make it there by 9:30 I’ll call it a win.

So that’s what I’ve been doing, in case anyone missed me. As my routine settles down a little, or as I get a little more accustomed to it, I hope to be able to spend more time with this blog. I’ve missed you too.

“Work When Others Are Resting”

This is one of 9 pieces of advice from artist David Jon Kassan, posted by a former professor on a Facebook Group for Illustration Students along with a link to Kassan’s website. The list also includes, “Do more than what you are told to do,” “Take lots of breaks,” and “Love what you do or just don’t do it.”

Work when others are resting.

I love this maxim, because it’s not saying, “Do not rest.” It’s also not saying, “Do not go out when the air is bright and your friends are calling and the time has come to raise a glass and shout because you’re alive and the world is beautiful.” Rather, it is a gentle invitation from your work, from your vocation. It is a soft whisper from that which you love, saying, Find me in the liminal spaces. Come to me when the house is quiet, and we can be alone.

Figure drawing January 30th, 2011. Adobe Photshop. Copyright © Grace Makley (me).