Category Archives: Statement of purpose

YM&S: Professional ambitions, part 1 – Publishers Lunch

Now that I’ve found a niche of publishing to call my very own, several professional ambitions have become defined in what was previously a very vague landscape. Planning things out before hand isn’t really my style: one of the reasons that I fared so poorly in academia qua academia—I have habituated myself to solving any problem I find myself, and I can precipitate problem I’ve suffered before, but solving a hypothetical problem that hasn’t actually appeared yet always feels to me like an utter waste of time. Not that doing so doesn’t have its place—I certainly appreciate others who have this tenacity for precognition—it’s just not something I spend time on or could succeed at if I did. Like painting: I love the visual and appreciate what I can understand of what I see, but the rest is lost on me though not without its own purposes outside of my biases.

So then, too, my professional ambitions. Being in publishing for a good many years now and having studied it both as a professional and academic, one of my ambitions is to make it I to Publishers Lunch, the primary form of industry news, an email sent on a daily basis with a summary of the news available on Publishers Marketplace.

This ambition has already split into steps, or degrees. My first goal was just to get mentioned in some way. Well, not only has my employer received several mentions since I started working there, projects over which I’ve had direct professional control have ended up there as well. And I had an increasing level of control over each project, so each mention is more satisfying than the one before it, a pleasant escalation.

So what’s the next step of this single ambition? To get mentioned by name, of course! Something like “The brilliant Greg Freed who has shown an unerring tenacity for generating book-quality books for the ebook market, has hit another homerun with this series, showing e-publishers and electronic producers everywhere that not only can high quality be attained but soon will be expected by customers everywhere.”

Like most of my dreams, an unmitigated delusion of grandeur, of course, that I do my damndest to live up to. And I won’t be sad if I fall a little short: falling a little short inversely implies quite a lot of successful movement. Which connects this next step in the Publishers Lunch ambition to another ambition of mine, which I’ll address in my next post!

Have a great day doing whatever it is you do, and DREAM LARGE. Share your ambitions in the comments below.

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As Tanya put it, I crap on everything

Some readers feel compelled to remind me that I’m twenty-six. Within that group, a subset tells me (as often as they get the chance) that I do not know everything. But telling an intelligent and ambitious twenty-six year old that he does not have the capacity to understand everything is like telling a teenager that he is not immortal:

He will agree with you because of course you’re right. He might even understand that what you really mean is not that the teenager can die but that actions have consequences some of which he is not prepared for and others which he is totally incapable of handling. But of course the teenager can die, and he knows this. And of course actions have consequences, and he knows this. It’s what he doesn’t know that matters most: He does not know the horrible threshold consequences can elevate to. He does not know the terrible burden consequences sometimes aspire to. He does not know just how quickly his life can turn from seeming security to irresistable loss. He does not even know that some things in life are irresistable.

What I understand from readers of this type, when I take them at their best critique, is that I am not capable of understanding everything in the world. But of course I know this. I am a student of Socrates, where all knowledge is vain, and I have no faith in the things I know. I am a student of Ptolemy, where when I see two systems side by side that work just as well, I consider one as good as another and arbitrarily choose one with which to move forward (I must move forward.). I am a student of Galileo, where when I come to see that one system surpasses the other I had arbitrarily chosen, I hold no qualms in switching systems. I am a student of Einstein, where even as systems become more complicated they become simpler, and yet even as I abstract out of my perspective, these systems can never grow outside my perspective. I am a student of Kuhn, where the system of switching systems is itself a science, for all the paradoxes that entails.

I know, as well as the teenager knows that he is not immortal, that my knowledge is vain. What matters is what I do not know.

I do not know that knowledge has negative consequences beyond the fickle: peoples’ jealousy, peoples’ annoyance, peoples’ opinion of my arrogance. I do not know that loneliness matters in the grand scheme of things; isolation is the birthplace of human genius, but loneliness is so wearisome. I do not know how difficult it will be to unsubscribe from all the human systems I have digested, should my spiritual growth ever attain that level. What more consequences I do not know, I do not know.

In college I told friends that my vision of entering afterlife was a process where you receive one opportunity to let go the burden of your accumulated knowledge such that, should you choose to accept his offer, God fills you with Truth and Knowledge, fulfilling all the desires you ever had to know him and his gifts. Should you not except, you remain stuck with yourself. I imagined a white light, a time-eclipsed experience of floating in his essence. I suppose in some small way I still cling to that fantasy, that all my effort and knowledge are moot, accumulating inevitably as I wait for the opportunity to cast them aside. And yet the longer I hold them—for I cannot let them go—the more tempting assuming them becomes.

I also believe that self-knowledge is a system that shall one day require letting go. I believe that despite the deception of relativity, we learn about ourselves through a third-person perspective. Our only benefit is that we are so much closer to ourselves than others are: every waking moment can be spent on self-reflection. But one comes to know oneself as one comes to know any other self, and one can never know oneself as it is promised that God knows one. But perhaps there is no omniscience who knows you as you do not know yourself: I cannot promise it is so; only in the void of my impressionable imagination do I see anything of the kind. Therefore, even concerning self-knowledge, as it is with all other forms of knowledge, I am aware that either all is vain or all is moot: either way, it makes no difference. And yet I cannot help myself.

So, please, take me at my word: I know I do not know everything. I know I lack the capacity of wholly knowing the world or human knowledge or myself. I persevere in my authorial attempt and poetic displays not because I think I am some messiah sent to set the world straight but because, so long as I suffer life, I suffer human capacities, most specifically the being dragged along by the unflinching juggernaut of everincrementing time.

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The end

I had fun with this site. The experiment taught me about WordPress, about non-writer reactions to my writings, and about community building. Thank you especially Kate Barkhurst, Jenn Dietz, Mani Afsari, Laura Cococcia, Nancy Watts, and Karrie Higgins. Also, I love you Ashley Gravatte. Thank you for all of your support and for standing by me, even when I seem manic. 🙂 It’s been a blast!

As many of my friends surmised, with the semester upon me I’ve had to give up this little thing. But I intend to come back–at least next summer–bigger and better. Or perhaps I’ll just send off to a few literary contests. Who knows?

That said, thank you and ciao.

Greg

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Sweetness and sugar

First thing’s first: let’s talk about Trackback Tuesdays!

So, I have this RSS feed on the page (a little below the categories on your right), and it was something I was fairly proud of putting together, especially since WordPress doesn’t allow javascript on the .com blogs. I felt that in addition to providing content you, dear reader, may be interested in, it would also build my report with some of my favorite blogs. I got it up and working, and I update it occasionally, and for a while I’ve called that that.

But that is never that. I’m sharing this information with you because I think it’s either interesting or edifying (hopefully both). So why do I just put it there in a place where only a few will both to take a look and just hope for the best? I should market it more clearly and give you a reason to look at the material I’ve shared.

On Twitter, this consists of me writing out a new tagline, which doubles for its description on Facebook. Here, though, I should do one better. I should write a response that elicits why I’m interested and, with a little effort, why you should be, too.

Maybe my responses will be more personal that marketable. So much the better, since it will fit the site then! 🙂

**

The post I’m responding to today can be found here. Naturally Nina is a blog run by a woman who lives in Cambridge that usually focuses on visual art, especially photography, but also branches into her personal life from time to time. I don’t remember exactly how I found her, but I do know that every post of hers has at least one thing I’m glad to have seen, and so I follow her.

She’s getting married soon, which prompted her to post the quote “the ‘perfect’ wedding is one that finds you waking up next to a man who is whispering ‘good morning, wife.’ you reach for his hand, feel the ring, and realize — this is my husband.”

Now, I shun the sentimental. If you’ve read one blog post you know enough to question why I share with you this shared quote. If you’ve seen more, then you may outright doubt what you expect to follow. So let me just tell you: I’m going to discuss the genders.

My written world is dark. I tend to write about people who aren’t altogether nice in situations that aren’t going to turn out in the characters’ favor. After all, why should they? The world doesn’t work that way on a mass level. We suffer every day or every hour crimes (both legal and moral) that nobody wants to suffer–murder, rape, infidelity, bureaucracies–and we have to live with the scars whether or not we solicited them. I write these stories because these are the stories of man en masse, as I see it.

The particular level in which we live sometimes proves that dark world true. Othertimes we get to enjoy moments of exception.

For example, I have a girlfriend, Ashley, that you don’t see me write about much. She’s lovely and sweet and charming. She adores me and, as hasn’t been the case for years before, I adore her back. She sings like an angel, she supports me emotionally and financially, and she loves my dog. Speaking of that, Ashley has a heart as large and powerful as my ego.

Together we’ve done some amazing things. We’ve spared a homeless man a few days on the street; we’ve lifted the spiritual weight of a man whose emotional life was straining his old age; we’ve been treated to a dozen eggs by a homeless man in our neighborhood. We’ve seen our futures in New York and laughed for joy. We’ve built a home together where we spend our days in happiness, even if we’re not idle.

Sure, our belts are a little tight–I’m in graduate school with no full-time job and she works for a non-profit organization aimed as low-income senior citizens–but we have something better than financial security. We have each other. We also have our pets and our passions and our talents. We’re doing alright.

Ashley has seen me tormented by my writing. When I first wrote “Manipulation,” which isn’t posted here, I sank deep into an emotional hole. But it’s generally recognized by writers of all levels that the best writing affects us and shows up outside of the writing. Some writers recommend dealing with lighter subjects and writing out a few jokes to off-set the heavy load of the memoir. Well, you haven’t seen much here that’s light and funny (maybe you will in the future: I heard you, Mani), but as a young writer I just haven’t hit that stride yet. I write about what’s on my mind, and the world in my mind in a dark and heavy place. My life with Ashley is the lightness that offsets that.

Now, a fellow student mentioned today that women in my stories often get treated harshly. My answer is simple: my characters stay true to my style and worldview. Bad situations happen and also make good literature; boohoo if it’s not happy. Nobody gets treated well in my stories. Everyone gets treated as fairly as I can manage, but fairly doesn’t mean nicely. If you’re a bastard, I’ll write you as a bastard. If you’re a bitch, I’ll write you as a bitch. No special treatment, no exceptions.

How does this wrap back around to the Naturally Nina quoted quote? I mean to help put things in perspective: my writing is dark, but I have happiness in my life. I reject sentimentality in art, but I accept love in life. I go to sleep with plots and metaphors running through my head, and I wake up with Ashley curled up against me. It’s like any job, really; you go, you get a little beat up over the course of the day, you come home to your lover, smile, and then you go to sleep. Repeat until the weekend. Well, that’s where I am.

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Author: Greg Freed

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Filed under Criticism, Features, Humanistic, Statement of purpose, Trackback Tuesdays

So it’s time to get this train back on the road

Er… wait. Yeah, I mean what I said. Trains go on road sometimes. You know, like at intersections. Whatever, don’t judge me.

In the mode of our modern frilly psuedo-philosophy, I’m going to make an attempt to make this blog sustainable. (I’m 0 and 2 for metaphors tonight, or is that 0 and 3? Damn, maybe I should’ve waited another week… ;-p)

Here’s the deal:

1) Less Twitter and Facebook updates. The energy to properly market this blog was KILLING me. No more of that silly shit.

2) A whole list of theme days to make generation easier on me and community building through content contribution more compelling for you! 🙂
a) Microstory Mondays
b) Trackback Tuesdays
c) Guest Wednesdays
d) Theme Thursdays
e) Greg Fridays

This is all still up for consideration, of course. But I had to make a choice. I had to either decide to try and monetize this thing, what with the independent server and the ads and maybe some Quarterly Reviews and other well-thought-out concepts, or I had to back WAY off. I made the latter choice.

In that mode, welcome to your first Microstory Monday.

The challenge

Write a full story in less than three sentences. Fact, fiction, whatever.

The prize!

I’ll ask for your permission to rewrite the story to be posted next week. HOLY COW BEST PRIZE EVAR ZOMG!?!?

No stories? No problem. I’ll keep doing this until I get something or get tired of it. I’m hoping that at least a few of you out there like this sort of thing as much as I do, and I’m hoping that you decide to do it here instead of somewhere else for no particular reason. Now let’s see how this goes!

Guidelines

The only right I assume from you posting a comment is that I am able to host your work on this blog for non-commercial purposes with attribution. You keep all other rights.

I do have plans to attempt to monetize this site once the boulder rolls a little further down hill, but at this point there are NO ASSUMPTIONS OF COMMERCIAL RIGHTS. I will contact authors on an individual basis for any and all commercial purposes.

Make the entries as short or as long as you want, and any genre is fair game: fiction, non-, and poetry. Publish in comments stories, no matter how polished or raw, according to the game of the week. If I like your story, I’ll contact you and ask for permission to remix your work, which I’ll post with the next week’s contest.

You have one week to submit your story, and please, please do. I don’t want this site to be my literary masturbation. Join me, and perhaps get some free editing and mentoring along the way!

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One more week…

I felt confident about starting the site up again but decided that it was best to put it off for one more week. Thanks for your continued support and patience.

Greg

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A week or two off

I’m afraid that with the start of school and all of the different work things going on in addition to the updates for the site and my relationship with Ashley, I’m going to have to take a break. One or two weeks tops and then things will either be back on track or even better than they were before. Keep your eyes open on facebook, twitter, or the RSS feed for new posts in the near future.

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