I’m on deadline for Best Sex Writing 2010 and have a bazillion things I want/need to write, so will try to make this quick.
Sometimes I think email is the bane of my existence, certainly, this week it is. Last night, as I settled into the second row of Walter Reade Theater at the Film Society of Lincoln Center to watch the documentary In The Holy Fire of Revolution, starring former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov, armed with popcorn and a cupcake, I realized I had a voicemail. Someone wanted to know why I hadn’t answered their email that day…about meeting up that night. Only, our meeting was for the 22nd. I knew that because I’d reread our emails and while I should have responded immediately, but got distracted, I knew we had time. So I had to rush out of the theater to text this person about it. All worked out, but an added bit of stress.
I was already stressed because of another set of email exchanges that kindof led me to believe that working with friends is just plain wrong and inevitably leads to problems. It sucks but at least that immediate fire is now put out.
I also am revising my idea that I am such a great professional matchmaker. Part of me loves it…but not when you then wind up the go between in a “what does this email mean?” “What does this online posting mean?” I basically had to explain/defend these two people I respect and admire to each other, wasting way more of my time than I thought a simple “Here’s her email address” would do.
Last week, my issue was people who think my job is to do their job. I don’t mind if an editor asks for a recommendation, if I know someone, especially if it’s someone I’ve worked with and want to help out. I do mind when I writer I don’t know writes to me and says, “Hi, ___ referred me to you. I accepted an assignment for a magazine on a topic I don’t actually know anything about. Can you give me some examples of ____?” I mean, WTF is that?
Someone else emailed me on Facebook the most cryptic message ever. “There’s this ___ event.” It went on to talk about the event and “mainstream reporting.” I literally had no idea why he was telling me this or what the “favor” alluded to in the email was. If you have a favor, rather than annoying someone with endless back and forth emails, just freaking ask it.
If I sound grouchy, it’s not because I never have to ask people favors, it’s more this culture of intense internet laziness/expecting people to do your work for you that seeps up increasingly more and more of my time. I know I need to learn how to shut off email/Internet/everything in order to write. I’m trying. Last week I was all about trying to get one publishable piece sent out every day. Then, well, I stopped. I was fired up from reading Hugh MacLeod’s excellent Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity, which I’ll post a formal review of soon. I don’t hate email; in fact, today I was asked by an interviewer for Danish Elle, “What would your life be like without the Internet?” I couldn’t answer her. I mean, what? I truly don’t know, since the large majority of my personal and professional life is conducted online. (She did ask me how often I have sex, and I answered that one! I think it comes out in September, will post a link--and my response to that questio--then.)