the diary thing | 07.04.99 | year

"My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle."
Job 7:6
oneTHIS DIARY IS A YEAR OLD TODAY.  A year ago I was moping around, missing K. as she was away out East.  A year later I'm moping around, missing K. who's away out East.  So much for progress.  I may have lost a little weight, though you'd hardly notice.  I've definitely lost more hair.

In the past year we've moved -- that was a big change for me.  I've been doing less photography and more writing for money.  I halfway finished the first draft of a novel.  I was blurbed on the dust jacket of a book.  I sold most of my guitars.  I bought more computer equipment.  I was published in Vogue.  I was rejected by Premiere and Entertainment Weekly.  I discovered that I really didn't care who published me -- as long as I got paid.  I didn't get paid enough.

I've become a much better cook in the last year -- I can thank K. for that.  I've learned to make ice cream and jam and pizza dough from scratch.  I perfected my vinaigrette.  I still haven't mastered the perfect basmati.  I stopped overcooking eggs.

In the past year we've been to Barcelona, Chicago and Niagara Falls.  We've bought a blender and an ice cream maker, a mattress, a floor lamp and quite a few dishes.  We have more salt, mustard, and barbecue sauce than we'll ever need.  We've made a lot of strange noises at the cats and watched too much cable t.v.

In the last year I bought way too many magazines.  I was reminded, once again, that I'll never have enough time to read all the books I want to.  I've had three wicked colds and a really bad flu.  I finally threw away all those pants with a 35" waist.  I didn't listen to nearly as much music as I should have.  I really didn't miss it all that much.

I actually made a few new friends.  I really should meet a couple of them sometime.  I didn't get out much.  I stopped worrying and learned to love the bomb.  I put one foot in front of the other.  I started a joke that started the whole world laughing.  I didn't see that the joke was on me.  I was so much younger then, I'm older than that now.

This year I shot 55 assignments, developed 150 rolls of film and made around 300 or so prints for maybe half a dozen clients.  A slow year.

In the past year I've written 22 articles, 2 food pieces, and 5 book reviews, for a total of approximately 20,000 words.  I was paid an average of 50 cents per word, for a rough total of $10,000.  (That doesn't sound like an awful lot, does it?)  I've written 13,000 words of fiction, unpaid.  I've written 138 diary entries, at an average of 800 words per entry, for a total of 110,400 words.  My grand total word output for the year would be around 143,400 words. 

The average Stephen King novel is 211,750 words long.


I have no way of knowing who reads this journal except through the e-mail I receive, so here's a list of the people, and their pseudonyms, who've gotten in touch over the past year:

Justin Johnson, Lucy Huntzinger, Catherine DeCuir, Scott Anderson, Beth Campbell, Scott Underwood, Cindy Crittenden, Joy Rothke, Kymm Zuckert, Dawn Gilpin, Catherine Sandine,  Anita Rowland, Alan Zweig, Radixa, David Adam Edelstein, Ron Collings, Stacy King, Amanda Page, Jamaica, Marilyn Harper, Christine, David Frazer, John Michael Scalzi II, Fran Garlow, James Lileks, IronM97, Sheldon Davis, Gary, Alistair, Melissa B., John Bailey, Ernie, Rock and Roll Dave, Suzanne Manzler, Tim Bullard, Amanda C., Rainhawk, Denise Rehse Watson, Harvey Scodel, Van Waffle, Jeroen Hoorn, Aarti Rana, Pensive Volcano.

As for the rest of you, congratulatory e-mails are more than welcome -- stand and be counted!

Writing + photos[as indicated]
©1999 Rick McGinnis
BECAUSE OF THIS DIARY, THIS YEAR HAS BEEN THE MOST RIGOROUSLY DOCUMENTED OF MY LIFE.  Until this year, no journal I'd kept had lasted more than a dozen entries, or survived intact more than a year after I'd stopped writing in it.  I don't know how many blank-page books, partially filled, hardbound or loose-leaf or spiral-bound, that I've torn up, thrown out or burned.

As a result of this journal, friends who I only see occasionally (which would be almost all of them) know more about my life than if I saw them every day.  Because of this diary, people who I've never met have written to me offering advice, complimenting me on my taste in books, movies, and girlfriends, and sharing anecdotes from their own life.  In the past year I've stayed at home more than ever before.  I've also never felt less lonely. 

This diary got me a job.  This diary caused a big argument with my girlfriend, but she doesn't mind it now.  This diary cost me $192.00 in ISP fees, but not a penny in software.  This diary is read by around a hundred people per entry, and gets about 1100 "hits" per month.  This diary is far from being one of the best read on the net.  This diary exists in no other form but intangible digital code.

Because of this diary, several people have asked me to shoot their weddings, or do their portrait -- when they get married or can afford my fees.  This diary contains three pictures of me, one picture of K., six pictures of the cats, and seven pictures of our new apartment.  This diary contains two pictures of warplanes, one picture of Foghorn Leghorn, a letter from my father, two pictures of insects, four pictures of my family, and one picture of an atomic bomb exploding.

I've been writing this diary for a year and I'm not tired of it yet.  There are three things that would stop me from writing this diary: a sudden, incredible increase in work, a lawsuit, and boredom.  I wonder what you'd think if I said that I rather wish the first would happen -- the sooner the better.  I really enjoy writing this diary, but I'd really, really like to make a living.

In a perfect world, I'd be able to make a living writing this diary.  If this last year has taught me anything, it's that I don't live in a perfect world.

This is my world, thank you for sharing it with me.

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