I Sing a Song of Carmen.

posted in: Work | 2
Clearly, I am the one in black and Carmen is chipper. Please also notice THAT DOGGIE! ("At Home" by Louise Catherine Breslau, 1885.)
Carmen (in blue) is wishing I would remember my Southwest.com password; I am too tired to speak, too tired, even, to pet my AMAZING PUPPY. “At Home” by Louise Catherine Breslau, 1885.

There has been a great development. I have hired an assistant. A real one this time.

Her name is Carmen and she is made of gumdrops and birthday cake. She is smart. She is organized. She cares. She’s already doing an incredible job. And Bizet wrote an opera for her, so.

Having an assistant sounds impossibly fancy. It sounds like I think I’m important. It sounds like I’m rollin’ in it and because of that assumption, it sounds super annoying. Here’s the funny thing: there have been times in my life when I could better afford to hire someone to help me out for 10-15 hours a week, but it has never, ever been so crucial as now. So I’m figuring out the math.

Look, you’re with me. You read this blog. You see me flying from Portland to Florida to New York to Phoenix to St. Cloud. It’s interesting and it’s beautiful. But it’s a lot. Starting in the fall and all through 2017 I’ve got a lot of jobs on the road, a lot of teaching and speaking commitments. “But aren’t you going to be in grad school?” you ask, then you jump out of your seat because my hysterical, hysterical laughter has frightened you.

The only way — and I mean the only way — this whole “work my way through grad school by being an itinerant quilt teacher” thing is gonna work is if I’ve got someone to help me. I can’t do it alone. I was starting to crack doing it myself before — what’s gonna happen when I have a novel to read by Friday and a poem to revise by Monday?

I thought long and hard about this grad school thing, I really did. I didn’t want to say yes to it if I’d be half in, half out, doing Quilt World Things while trying to get the very very most out of an MFA at the same time. For sure, if I tried to insert studies at the SAIC into what I’ve got going on now, I’d fail at both and it would be a hard, hard turfing out. (The saying “I shudder to think” is a chestnut, but I do literally shudder when I imagine trying to do what October looks like, for example, while going to graduate school.) But I believe that if someone can help me with back-end gig logistics (supply lists, bio, photos, travel deets, schedule, classroom assignments, contact persons, dossier, etc.) then how I make a living is actually sorta perfect. I go to school. A couple times a month I go and teach quilting and lecture about the history of quiltmaking in America. It sounds cool, anyway.

All this justification as to why I finally “broke down” and hired the inimitable and breathtakingly gorgeous Carmen has a few sources: I’m a woman who suffers from Imposter Syndrome; I’m not heading a Fortune 500 company so what could be so important I need help with it; I’m from the Midwest. But you know what? Not only have I created a job in the economy (woah! so cool!) I have admitted to you that I need help, Carmen. And look at that: I’m admitting it to you, too.