There is an odd dynamic happening in my circle of fellow journalists. With so many of us laid off, and so many of us friends, or at least collegial acquaintances, it's tricky to navigate around potential work. We're all freelancing now, so if one of us is trying for a berth at a particular place, and says it out loud, then the unspoken consideration is to not pursue work at that place, lest you snatch work from your friend.
Sometimes, we simply won't mention where we are looking or who we're talking to about possible work, because it just makes it awkward if the other person decides to pursue the same opportunity. After all, we are each responsible for our own bills. But you can hear when the mention of something is being sidestepped, because you know you're doing it yourself, and while you wish the best for your friend and would prefer to share whatever opportunities you have discovered, there is also a kernel of anxiety that there won't be a place for you when the music stops and all the seats are once again taken in this game of musical chairs that journalism in the city has become.
At the same time, since you are all journalists, you know exactly how to tease out the information that is being withheld if you choose to, and sometimes you do choose to, just to get a reading on whether you might be getting left behind. See what I mean? Paranoia.
It doesn't help that I'm having a hard time buckling down this week. I know it's partly because I'm traveling in two days, and so I don't want to start on a new project and not be able to follow it through. I'll be in Jamaica with my mom till the middle of next week, trying to bolster her spirits after the loss of her beloved big sister. I'm at loose ends today. Maybe I'll just run errands and let the work slide until I get back from Jamaica. I feel so scattered, unfocused. This is so not like me.
Wait! I just got an email from a writer that sent a rush of excitement through me! Nothing like the chance to reengage with work that truly inspires! (You know who you are.)