Dusk in LA today was pastel, blurry. A bright afternoon—a little humid, said my Mom, very warm—faded into a night through a fuzzy grey peach. I drove downtown for a dinner with old friends—at least a decade each of knowing—and crested the 2 freeway right at sunset. If it could even be called that, less a sun setting than thin sheets of tracing paper accumulating on top of the day’s colors, one by one. White tracing paper on top of grey cement and blue skies, another sheet, three sheets a thick haze; then a sheer sheet of black tracing paper slid carefully on the scene, another one, omitting details and fading foliage into two dimensions, and another sheet until only the sharp circles of electric lights pierced the paper.
The cover of Writer’s Market 2010 is spruce green. Or maybe mint green. In any case, it’s a nice organic, subdue green, offset by a fat brown stripe that highlights the white letters of the title and subhead. I just spent $32.91—and yes, I did just dig through my wallet to find what 29.99 plus 9.75% sales tax equaled, a number I should have calculated in my head in the spirit of the GRE. But I digress—I just spent $32.91 on the green Writer’s Market 2010 and I’m very excited.
I contemplated purchasing the 1200-page beast on Amazon, hopeful for a discount, but there was just something about standing in line with other book buyers, beaming like a new mother as I clutched my fat book to my chest, that paid for itself. 3,500 listings of places to publish your writing—imagine the possibilities! I’m not the first to discover Writer’s Market (if I believe the cover, I’m the five millionth). Is is, after-all, nicknamed the writer’s bible. It was the sole textbook for my magazine writing class in college. It is the book anyone selling their writing should have. And I knew about it all along. So yes, I did stop to wonder, in all the green excitement: why oh why have I waited this long to buy this book?
I’m all fired up, as I so periodically get, from a conversation I had this week with an established freelance writer, who offered such sage words of wisdom as only someone with such an impressive portfolio can. He generously sent me a copy of his book—located at http://www.writewherethemoneyis.com—and I now have a productive list of things to tackle.
This list was a nice thing to hold on to this week, the week of waiting that folds into a weekend and now, it seems, another week. I’m anxiously waiting for news on a writing job that I’m perfect for, that I would rock, and that would rock my career—a really great job that I didn’t even apply for but was contacted about. I have now made it to the final three vying for one spot. And so I wait, and so I check my email between eighteen and eighty times daily.
Appropriately enough, just now I was browsing in the same department that this job would put me in and saw that Lonely Planet had finally released their new, updated Nicaragua book. Previously, LP had lumped El Salvador and Nicaragua into one book, but now they have a whole book dedicated to the lovely country, and rightfully so.
One rainy Saturday in early December of last year, I was at Brio in Playa Gigante, enjoying my weekend off from English classes. Rob and I were tinkering with the espresso machine when who should appear but a LP writer, working on the new, updated Nicaragua book. He was responsible for updating and expanding the information on the Pacific side of Nicaragua in only six weeks. He seemed… on the cranky side of stressed. Granted, he had recently survived a long trip in the back of a truck (remember it’s raining)… and I had been pestering him with questions about his line of work since he had arrived; so he perhaps deserved a little crankiness (I pestered to the point that he said in a chipper British accent: yes, I do get asked this stuff a lot. I’m thinking of just making a laminate with all your questions and answers and handing it out.)
Rob made our well-traveled friend an espresso and told him about the goings on of Hotel Brio. Rob told him about the English classes he had invited me to Gigante to begin and I briefly told him the specifics about my classes and my students. Rob showed him through a few rooms and offered him lunch while I meandered in to town to visit with friends at a surf camp. Not fifteen minutes later, he stopped in for a hello, a look around yet another surf camp, and then continued on his way. Nine months later, it says this in LP Nicaragua:
“The glorious white crescent of sand snuggled into the wildly forested mountains is almost worth the 7 km hike from the bus stop.” (Although, it’s actually 4 km from the bus stop, and I should know since I ran it thrice weekly. Honest mistake.)
Of Hotel Brio: “You can get Spanish classes here as well as hire boards or bikes and get surfing lessons. You can also volunteer (two month minimum, basic Spanish preferred) in exchange for room and board if you’re willing to work teaching English or doing trail maintenance, light construction work, or landscape in the Reserva Ecologica Zacatan.”
Ha! Teaching English! That was me! All me. I was the first, and because I was there, because he met me and I told him why I was there and what I was trying to do, because he heard about the English classes, he put them into a book, and maybe, someone might read this book and say, hey I want to go there and I want to teach English. And maybe they will go, pick up where I left off, and little Leana and Martha and lanky Evelio the fisherman and jumpy, enthusiastic Ernesto will have an English teacher yet again.
That’s a bright blue feeling of triumph.
If my Writer’s Market is organic green, and LA at dusk today was pale yellow grits, then this waiting to find out which way my future turns is the red of a traffic light. It is waiting at the corner of Hollywood and Highland, red brake lights lined in a column in front of a red traffic light, neon lights flashing across billboards and store signs, anxious and artificial. It’s right and left arrows flipping to green while straight ahead stays red and you sit in gridlock.