Tag Archives: adulthood

kasia in transit, indeed

This is me, right now.

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I am currently at the Union of the college from which I graduated last May, using the Internet to write and research. Because, you know, my Internet modem installed last week quit working. And then I got a new one in the mail. Guess what? That didn’t work either.

I moved into my apartment three weeks ago, and I’ve probably spent less than 10 percent of my time inside of it. Almost all of that time was spent sleeping. Besides working full-time, I’ve been either in Liberty (a 40-minute drive) or in Topeka (an hour drive) taking advantage of Jewell’s and friends’ Internet connections (for me, the Internet is a necessity, as I freelance write and research). Plus, last weekend I visited my parents and sisters in Springfield, which is a three hour drive.

Monday morning’s commute began at 5 a.m. on a cool summer morning, and it lasted three hours. I left from my parents’ home in Springfield and drove alongside the Amish in their horse-drawn buggies through the Ozarks hills covered with mist so thick that I thought Rip Van Winkle surely had fallen asleep in these mountains instead of the Catskills.

Three hours in alone in a car: Kasia-in-Transit, indeed. I don’t mind these long periods of solitude. I turn on the radio and listen to Morning Edition; there’s something especially comforting about listening to familiar disembodied voices reporting and analyzing the news. That three hours of quiet meant more than I realized, when breaks had become almost non-existent in my life.

I have a list of novels that I meant to read after I graduated, because I assumed that I would have the time. I miss reading for pleasure, regularly.

I’m tired. I didn’t think I’d be this tired after comps and graduation, but I am. I don’t have many possessions save my clothes and books, and almost no furniture, but my apartment is still somehow a tornado of unpacked items. I haven’t had time to finish up, since I spend my time writing and studying for the GRE and working, and my sleeping patterns are far too similar to my sleep schedule during exam season.

The post-grad life is exhausting, particularly when you are trying to balance paying the bills and pursuing your career and life goals (for me, the same thing). But I’m only 22, so working doubly hard for a low salary, skating by to cover rent, being too proud to move back into my parents’ basement, battling with customer service concerning my wireless connection for two hours at a time, owning a pay-as-you-go-phone, surviving on 20 cent Ramen noodle packets, and sleeping on a twin mattress set on the floor is exactly where I’m supposed to be.  Right?

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hello, world!; or, how to make good art

During my last-ever finals week and up to the hours immediately following my college graduation, I experienced two notable moments.

First, I was hired for a full-time teaching job, working with kids with learning disabilities. The job kept me in Kansas City, and I celebrated while (fairly unsuccessfully) attempting to avoid the doubts that clamored in my mind.

“You don’t want to be a teacher, Kasia. You want to write.”

Hush, imaginary career critic. This is a great first job. Not only will I stay by my friends in KC, but I’ll get to start paying back student loans. Plus, this job matters; ​I’m actually making a solid impact on these students’ lives.

Fine then. Settle.”

Second, a mere three hours after my commencement ceremony finished, I was kicked out of the Senior House where I lived. Evidently, as I was no longer a student, there were “liability issues” with this school-owned property, rendering me effectively homeless.

“Employed but homeless, eh? How very twenty-two of you.”

Naturally, I thought the only thing left to do was to rebel by going brunette–quite the change after spending my college years as a blonde–and make some quality art out of my situation:

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My next several days were spent in the office, and my nights were spent on the couches and floors of gracious friends. On one occasion–Memorial Day Weekend–I actually found myself back at my parents’ house in Springfield, Missouri! Visits back home are never quite like home, as I no longer have a bed waiting for me return, and instead (ready for this shocker?) I slept on a couch. Again.

I was more tired than inspired.

Then, I received a late graduation gift: a little book called “Make Good Art,” a transcript of writer Neil Gaiman’s speech to Philadelphia’s University of the Arts in 2012, presented with some pretty terr-if-ic typography.

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Among Gaiman’s advice: “You get work however you get work” (he padded his CV); you don’t have to meet every deadline if you are likable and create quality work (admittedly something I’ve with which I’ve gotten away); and the advice that seemed suspiciously timely, given my current conditions of living:

“Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.

Make good art.​

I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn’t matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.”

​So, apologies to my parents, but I’m not giving up writing just yet. Lunch breaks, early mornings, and late evenings will be spent researching, freelancing, and blogging. I’m going to share stories with you, World (although I cannot guarantee their verity).

​I am now typing away in a McDonald’s (free internet! and $1 shitty coffee, or all I can currently afford) before I go into work. I just bought several packets of Ramen noodles and 400 minutes for my pay-as-you-go phone that remains a popular let’s-tease-Kasia point on the part of my friends, so I am prepared to skate by for the next couple of months. But I’m not sure that I’m talented enough be creative if I simply had it easy, so here we go. Life is rocky, but I’m young. Time to make good art.