Tag Archives: young

YM&S: Professional ambitions, part 1 part 2 – Publishers Lunch

When I first got on to Twitter about 3 years ago, I made a comment about some business and how their product was disappointing me. That business responded to me personally and publicly, asking me what they could do to improve. There are a number of ways any given person could respond to this—what I would have called at the time at least atypical—interaction with a business; my reaction was surprised distrust. But businesses use Twitter as a low-cost customer survey system all the time—my reaction was only a sign of what a n00b I was to the network.

Again, my existence has recently been acknowledged by a business I mentioned by name: Publishers Lunch. (Such is a symptom of the power of blogging plus Google Alerts: if you mention them, they will browse.) I said in my last blog post that to get mentioned by them by name was one of my professional ambitions. Well, they mentioned me by name!

I’m decidedly excited about this because I’m refusing to react as I reacted as a Twitter n00b back when. I could construe the actual mention, “[Keep trying, Greg Freed]”, as sarcasm, something I would otherwise be likely to do because a lack of context defaults to snark, my primary form of casual communication. But instead, I’m taking it as at least one of my previous employers took it: as a light hearted joke and maybe even encouragement.

I mean, I don’t know the Publishers Lunch people (I met one at a barbeque once) and they don’t know me, but we both take publishing seriously, which is where the ambition and mention both find their source. But something I consider strange happens when I tell people in publishing about this particular ambition: the general reaction is to kind of sneer and ask why. And I can understand this reaction from people who have received the honor before: like any award, it must lose its luster after you win it. And I can understand this reaction from people who assume they’ll be worthy of a legit mention some day: publishing is small, and insulation can give rise to snootiness bordering on arrogance.

But I am neither of these types of people; neither established nor confident of my coming establishment in the industry. I am a southern semi-intellectual who bought access to this particular echelon through a master’s program, and there’s every chance that if I don’t assign goals for myself, nothing will ever happen for me.  And if one is going to begin assigning goals, baby steps are the best way to start. Leaps and bounds only occur once you’re really settled, really rooted to your place.

I want to thank Publishers Lunch for this mention. Getting mentioned by the industry-leading news magazine is only a baby step to someone like me, someone who consistently over-reaches, constantly takes bites bigger than they can chew. But what Publishers Lunch did here was to divide one of my first steps into more manageable pieces and then give me one of them as a gift: I have been mentioned by name in Publishers Lunch. Now I just have to get mentioned in earnest, which was the only goal I saw before.

You see? Now, because of their generosity and humor, I feel like I’ve made a kind of progress and success, which I wouldn’t have otherwise felt. And that’s the outcome of attaining an ambition. If this were a video game, this would be an achievement I’d have earned through just playing the game.

Have you ever set a professional goal that’s been looked down upon by others? Have you ever achieved part of a goal that you didn’t realize before was a goal in parts? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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Filed under Features, Professional ambitions, YM&S

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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Filed under Professional ambitions, Statement of purpose

YM&S: Young, Mobile, and Social

I’m going to start a new strand of blog posts in a new YM&S category. Ashley and I had a fun time in Boston, a town both of us knew different parts of, and we’ve enjoyed discovering Jersey City, Hoboken, Montclair, and New York City. YM&S posts will be about discovering our new home or remembering the old, hopefully to help out people who are following in the same or similar footsteps.

More to come soon, probably tonight.

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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

A Relationship in Presents, Part Three: A lonely basement

I know some of you are still working on submissions for the Themed Thursday. We already have three, so don’t stand on modesty. Let’s get those in today!

In case you haven’t found out some other way, I’m writing guest articles about writing through The Journal of Cultural Conversation. See my newest article, which discusses Eat, Pray, Love versus Julie and Julia.

Also, NQOKD is still seeking guest authors. If you have (or someone you know has) some writing you think would fit in here, send them my way!

On to the story.

**

“I got a package today,” I said through a smile, my voice a little strained by the heart in my throat. I carried a box into the lonely basement bedroom of the first Boston house I lived in, a two-story duplex out in Newton.

“Oh yeah?” she asked.

“Yeah. And I wonder who it’s from, since the return address is in your hometown. Huh, who could have sent it?” I set the cardboard box down on my bed, dimensions one foot by one foot by one foot.

“I dunno, honey. Sounds like a mystery.” Her voice almost sounded disinterested, almost bored, but I can hear a smile through the phone.

“Oh, well maybe I should wait to open it,” I joked, half-laughing. “Maybe I should wait until I hear from whoever sent it.”

She laughed, and I knew that a smile lit her features then. “And maybe you should just open it, silly.”

“Is it a waffle maker? Did you buy me another waffle press?”

“Shut up and open it, and then you’ll see.”

I took out my keys and used one to pierce the masking tape, dragging it along to split the plastic. “I bet it is another waffle press. You always get me the best presents.”

I slid my arms elbow deep through the Styrofoam peanuts two passed two plastic bags until I felt something solid at the bottom. Grabbing on, I pulled the box straight up, dislodging peanuts and heart confetti. For a moment, as the packing material cascaded to the floor, anyone watching might’ve believed it was Valentine’s day.

“Oh, you sent me a star-shaped box, huh? That’s pretty cool, I guess.”

We laughed for a while before she said, “Look inside, nerd.”

The box held more confetti, a box of Nerds and some other candy, and hundred of little labels ranging from Everything will be alright! to little hearts and other doodads. She must’ve spent hours cutting all of that label tape, typing it all in.

“Aw, honey! This is perfect!” I shouted into the phone. “I can always have a little piece of you with me.” My smile exposed my teeth, a rare expression.

She simply said, “Yeah,” while she listened to me scatter the star’s contents. After a moment, she asked, “What about the other stuff?”

“Other stuff? What other stuff?”

Sarcasm tainted her voice and I could feel her eyes rolling when she said, “Look in the box, stupid!” We laughed again.

I reached in and pulled out the two plastic bags I had felt. I considered them for a moment before I said, confused and a little bewildered, “You bought me… underwear?”

“Yeah,” she answered, her voice rising into almost a question.

“That’s… um, cool.” Uncertainty coated my gratitude.

“Did you look at them?”

I shook my head and blinked a few times while I considered her question, and then I opened a bag and pulled out a pair. On the backsides, she had used iron-on lettering to spell out a phrase on each undie. I LOOOOOOOVE YOU! would stretch across my fat ass to both of our amusements for the next few years.

“Oh, honey!” I cooed. I only continued through laughter: “I’ve never gotten personalized clothing before!”

“First time for everything,” she answered, put at ease.

“It’s perfect, honey. Perfect! Every present from you is better than the one before it.”

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Author: Greg Freed

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Filed under Creative nonfiction, Presents, Writing