Ladies & gents:
[Ahoy! Spoilers! Skip down if you want my recommendations for books by badass women doing cool shit]
I finished the Gilmore Girls Revival this week. I'd hoped watching it would be a soothing escapism experience after the hellfire that has been the last few weeks, but I found myself yelling at the iPad instead. Why?
Rory Gilmore is bad at freelancing.
Rory Gilmore may be the worst at freelancing. She's more like college students I taught whose only clips are from student newspapers than some world traveling freelance journalism superstar – which, by the way, one New Yorker clip won't make you.
That's evident by the incredibly bad decisions she makes. As the kids say: I. CAN'T EVEN. She writes on spec! She talks about the Huffington Post as if it's some coveted clip (they don't pay!) She goes into a book deal with a book contract – and Rafi shuts that shit down! She swans around yelling "CONDE NAST!" like it's a new boyfriend to cheat on (not to mention that, in the show, CONDE NAST! is treated like it's its own publication, not, you know, a media empire).
I've had meetings at CONDE NAST! And guess what: they were with specific editors at specific publications, pretty boring, and I certainly didn't offer to take on a story (about lines – LINES?!) without a contract because I am not a moron. And I don't even need to ask if she signed their Master Services Agreement for that New Yorker clip. I bet she signed whatever they put in front of her without even reading it because Rory is thirsty.
Guess who hasn't signed the MSA? THIS. CAT. Because I treat freelancing like the business that it is. That also means I don't jet across the Atlantic whenever I want to bone an engaged ex-boyfriend. I spend most of my time anchored in my office writing stories, interviewing people for stories, pitching stories, or chasing down late checks from people who may or may not want to pay me for those stories. I don't have a lucky outfit unless you include my college era ripped Adidas sweatpants and black Canadian Roots hoodie that I wear in the winter because I keep the house cold to save money. See above regarding late checks.
This is worse than the Carrie Bradshaw fantasy of being a freelance newspaper columnist who can afford $750 shoes. I was paid $175 a week for my last newspaper column, which I wrote in tandem with lots of other articles and a book, and I sure as hell can't pay my mortgage on one clip from CONDE NAST! Even if I am willing to give a show that has California quality sun on a New England winter day some willing suspension of disbelief, where is Rory getting the money for these cross-Atlantic flights? And pay for service and data plans on three cell phones? The show's producers couldn't throw in a line about how her inheritance from her grandfather was funding her life or Logan was paying for his side piece's travel? When does she ever write and research her stories other than boning a guy in a Chewbacca costume when she is supposed to be writing about lines? (LINES! On spec!)
And…and…and…I can't even get into her memoir project. Except this: Rory, don't show your mom your work after writing the first draft of three chapters. You know when I showed another human being any pieces of Running: A Love Story? Fifth draft. You know when my mom read it? As a finished book.
But then again, I had an agent. And a contract. AND I DON'T WRITE ON SPEC ABOUT LINES.
Rory Gilmore: bad with dudes. And bad at freelancing too.
Jen Talks About Her Book
Creative Nonfiction podcast. This is much more about writing than running, so writers: this one may be for you.
What I'm Reading
I'm into Tom McAllister's The Young Widower's Handbook, but this week, in addition to yelling about the freelance habits of a fictional character, I wanted to share some examples of books writing by women about them doing kick ass things in honor of finishing Jenna Woginrich's Barnheart about how she started her own farm. I'm making a trip up to Vermont soon for work things, so I figured I might as well read about someone who moved there – from Idaho! Some other female memoirs (beyond the obvious ones of Wild and Eat, Pray Love):
Tide, Feather Snow: A Life in Alaska by Miranda Weiss. A beautiful, quiet, moving memoir about a woman who moved to Alaska.
Paddling North by Audrey Sutherland. Another one about Alaska, but about a woman who paddled it. Yes, paddled. Either there's something about Alaska that inspires these vivid, contemplative books, or it's the writers being drawn there. Either way, this one is lovely too.
Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart. A fun, zippy book about the summer this country girl moved to New York City to work at Tiffany on the eve of the end of WW II.
Born With Teeth by Kate Mulgrew. Yes, I listened to this memoir on a road trip because she's Captain Janeway, but this is much deeper than a typical celebrity memoir. She kept pushing for her dream, and she got it. She's a badass.
What I'm Watching
Well you now know my thoughts about the new Gilmore Girls. I finished the fourth season of Arrow and second season of Red Oaks. Don't be too impressed – Red Oaks was only 10 half hour episodes. The second season was much better than the first. They didn't need to do any backstory and jumped right in. Also the clothes are a scream (except for the dress I'm pretty sure I have. My vintage is cool, not weird okay?). I also watched Zootopia (super topical right now!) and started Grantchester, which is about an Anglican vicar who solves crime. Yes, really. Hey, if it worked with gardeners, it can work here too.