Thursday, January 20, 2011

It Took 19 Days

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Yesterday was a banner day for me. For the first time in 2011, I was able to put in a full day of writing.

I published in excess of 5K words on two different Tao blogs yesterday and my original output topped 8k before I trimmed the fat. That word count doesn't include work on two different freelance pieces. One was utterly horrible and I stopped working on it, hoping that some time away would improve the clusterfuck of words and incomplete thoughts. Meanwhile, the other one flowed smoothly and I just need a quick polish and it's good to go.

That's the good news...shit it's the best news I've had all year. The crappy piece will improve from a disaster to passable. That's the best thing about writing a bomb -- it can only get better. The difficulties occur when you can't transform a mediocre piece into a shiny gem. Here's the thing -- I don't get paid a lot of money for the crappy piece, which means that I will limit the amount of time that I actually work on it. I know that I could create a gem if I toiled on it every day this week for six hours a day, but my time is far more valuable than the paycheck I'll cash for that assignment.

By now you figured out how I work: the paycheck amount is directly proportional to the amount of time and energy that I put into a piece.

If that client wanted to pay me more, then I would certainly set aside more time to edit and polish it. As is, they get what they pay for, which means I'll do a quick re-write this morning, make necessary edits, and then that's it. Dunzo.

But damn, it feels good to be back in the swing of writing in my office with the music creating a nice background beat. I barely looked at my notes because I did not have to. I loved feeling the creative spark -- something that was absent at the onset of 2011. Amazing how my physical health affects my ability to create.

I had one evening of insomnia in the Bahamas and I must have cranked out a few thousand words while the sun came up. That was an important writing session because I was shaking off the rust after a few weeks of inaction. I knew that upon my return to California that I'd have to get my proverbial shit together and crank out a month's work of freelance in a mere four days. And that's what I set out to do on Wednesday and once I started, I couldn't stop. Even though I got back to the slums of Beverly Hills late Monday night, I fucked up my finger which made it difficult to write for long stretches of time on Tuesday. The painkillers dulled the pain but pharmies often hinders the writing process depending on which drug you ingest. In that instance, the pain killers created only a small window of opportunity to write before the haze took over and I sunk into the couch to catch up on the new episode of Animal Hoarders and last week's Top Chef.

When I initially returned to LA after the holidays in NYC, I got stricken with a nasty bout of the wook flu. It not only kicked my ass, but it forced me to do next to zero writing because it killed any energy I had, and what little I did have went to maintain the web empire, which has been stretched too thin. As a result, I did not write too many original pieces and I definitely failed to make a dent into my freelance assignments.

Alas, something happened in the Bahamas...my health improved and my appetite came back. I'm still about nine pounds lighter than when I started 2011, but my appetite has fully returned. I really can't think about a single day this year when I actually ate three meals but that's what happened yesterday because I devoured a big breakfast, a late lunch, and dinner not to mention a late night chocolate shake before I settled in to watch the latest episode of Top Chef with Nicky.

I guess that my appetite returned when I was in the Bahamas, but food is so fucking expensive that I curtailed the eating process and instead spent most of my money consuming booze at an alarming rate. I used the word "alarming" for a reason because I don't drink as much as I used too.

Speaking on the Bahamas, the shysters at the Atlantis resort put me on tilt when I checked my credit card statement and they tried to sneak an extra $320 charge past me. Luckily I caught it as soon as it posted. It's completely shady and I informed American Express that the amount they charged me was not even close to the amount on my bill when I checked out. Of course, when I attempted to call the Bahamas to get to the bottom of the charge, no one there could explain to me what the extra charges were for. In fact, they were outright rude and unpleasant to deal with -- which was expected considering they were trying to rip me off, thinking that I was one of those lazy rich Americans who doesn't look at their bills. Let's be frank... American Express is a charge card and not a credit card. I pride myself with the fact that I am debt free and I don't use credit cards at all -- unless they are among a collection of retailers and restaurants that refuse to accept AMEX, which in that case I bust out the Master Card, which only gets used in those instances.

Luckily, American Express has their shit together and will fight the excessive charge for me. They already wiped out the overcharge and will be launching their own investigation. One of my colleagues, Alexis, mentioned that Atlantis is notorious for double and triple charging their customers. Is that because they have incompetent workers, or are they running a carefully crafted scam and hopped that no one would notice?

Everyone is trying to hustle you these days. It was bad enough that I was forced to pay a 15% gratuity on everything I purchased at Atlantis, but for them to try to fuck me over $320 is just classless and unprofessional. In short, I hope they eat a bag of hot dicks because I refuse to pay it.

So here's when I get on my soap box and tell all my friends who just returned from the Bahamas to inspect their credit card bills very carefully over the next 60 days. Be vigilant and if you see something that shouldn't be there, I encourage you yo contact your credit card company ASAP.

Oh well. Everyone is a fucking hustler.

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