Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Whipped, Worn Out, and Plain Tired

I’m back. In the last three weeks my schedule was more than full, it was overwhelming. If you remember, I am a writer, teacher, and student. Between those three occupations, I spent each day running from one event or class every day. I am so glad that things are slowing down because I have a deadline for my new book, The Write Life. With only 29 more days to get this work completed, edited, and proofread is driving me crazy. Especially since some of my past writing events garnered me, advance purchases. So now you know what I have to do and how soon I have to do it.

None of what I have just shared with you has kept me from having opinions on the state of affairs here in the United States. The unofficial rape at the Duke University, gas prices, plagiarized writing by a new author, upcoming state elections, the war status, and a host of other things going on right now have my head spinning. How I keep my feelings in my head is beyond my comprehension, but I do. So I will attempt to give you my take on one issue and get back to the others next week. Why? Because my plate is still full with obligations, which mean I have very little time still. So here goes.

Gas prices

This one puts me up against a wall. I, like you can’t stand the thought of how much money it cost me to fill a ten-gallon gas tank. Instead of the $20 per weekly fill up I had gotten used to, I now have to plan in my budget $30. Doesn’t sound like much to you? Well, keep in mind, as a freelance writer, I don’t get a paycheck at the end of each week. My paychecks come like those of the old vacuum cleaner salesman. I get paid when I sell a piece. So one month I may make a few thousand and another, not one red penny. So the price of gas can’t just up and change and not cause problems for me. The key word here is budget. My preplanned budget was for $20 a week, not $30. So spare me the phrase that says there is nothing we can do about it. I say that is bull____. You fill in the blank.

Now the other side of this story is my retirement plan. I happen to own quite a bit of stock in the oil industry. My financial advisor back in 2003 insisted that I move some money around and buy it. I put up a fuss but went ahead and purchased some anyway. Well, you know what that means. With the increase in gasoline prices, there is an increase in my retirement portfolio. Trust me when I tell you, it is looking pretty good. The problem here is I am not old enough to take advantage of this influx of money. It is my retirement money. Ok, ok, I shouldn’t complain. But, at the rate the cost of living is going lately, I have to ask myself, will I live long enough to enjoy it. If things like unemployment rates, food and housing prices, along with the gasoline prices keep going upward, will I survive long enough to retire?

What really scares me is the fact that as a writer with money that comes and goes in drips and drabs, I never know sometimes when the rent will be paid or food will be on the table. I have no guarantee on how long I will live. Sure, there are agencies to assist me if need be but, I’m not unemployed, I’m underemployed some days and over on others. What’s a girl like me to do?

Anyway, like I said earlier, I am busy, busy sending out queries, teaching health and writing classes as my cost of living continually goes up. So I have to say good night now because I have work to do.


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