A Summer of Change

GlobeI spent a beautiful day yesterday at the US Open with my wife and father-in-law. It was clear skies, not terribly hot and filled with some excellent tennis. It was a great way to end summer. And it’s been an especially strange summer for me.

I started off in the UK, have recently come back to the US for the first time in a number of years, and will be moving once again to a different city in the US after a month of my current situation. I was happy living in the UK but as it was becoming more apparent I would likely be leaving I started looking for work. My wife also began looking for work.

Arthur Ashe

Looking for jobs is hard. Looking for jobs while living in a foreign country is even more difficult. We were looking up and down the east coast, from Atlanta up to Boston, with most of the focus in North Carolina and a little in the DC area. We don’t know anyone in North Carolina, but Oxford University Press has an office there, so I was hoping to get some sort of work with them. It’s also one of the fastest growing states in the country that’s supposed to have good job opportunities, a relatively good climate and decent cost of living expenses. Other than that whole ‘Bathroom Bill’ fiasco, it’s is supposed to be a nice place to live. When we left for the UK we lived around DC, so we still had contacts in the area.

That’s good for my wife, as her contacts included the manager for the company where she worked before we left. That company was hiring, she managed to get an interview soon upon our return and quick as that, she has a job again. I’m, of course, still looking. It is slightly easier now that we have a US address and phone number — at least I think and hope it will be — so I suspect it won’t be much longer until I get something.

When I’m not busy applying for jobs I’ve been busy trying my hand at writing. I’m reading about writing a screenplay. I figure that I watch enough movies and television shows I ought to be able to write one as well. I’ve got an interesting idea (I think) but I’m not sure how to make it work into a decent screenplay. I’ve always actually dreamt of being a writer, I just need to go do it. I’ve done a lot of different types of writing in my life so now it’s a matter of learning the style and formatting of screenwriting.

Part of my learning process is watching television and movies. Not merely for entertainment — which they often are — but studying them for what works and what doesn’t work, characterisation, plot development, storytelling technique and everything else that comes into the process. It’s not the same as writing, but it is giving me ideas. Maybe one day one of those ideas will help me get published (or bought and produced in this instance). I’m fascinated with the different perspectives and time-frames in things. I really enjoyed how the first season of True Detective moved back-and-forth in time to tell the story. It’s not the same at all, but I liked how the mechanics of How I Met Your Mother worked. Currently, I’m fascinated with the different perspectives of The Affair — how the same event told from two different viewpoints changes the implications of that event. It’s hard to sustain or do properly, but is appealing when done right.

Since I’ve been home I’ve been watching sports on TV as well. It’s not a screenwriting learning exercise, but it is entertaining. First it was the Olympics — which wasn’t really as interesting as I would have liked. Then it was American football. As you may remember from other posts, I’m a big fan of NFL football. Summer is the start of pre-season practices. For the first time in ages I’ve been in the US to actually watch games on TV. A live football game shouldn’t be exciting to me, but it is. But it’s just one more thing that’s different from what I’m used to. One more thing that’s changing.

Yet for all the change, some things remain the same. One of my best memories with my wife was our first trip to the US Open. That was the weekend I proposed all those years ago. While we again went to the Open, this year’s trip to the Open symbolically marks the end of the summer of change for me. My wife starts her new job next week, so we’re moving (again), I should be getting a job soon and perhaps life can return to some semblance of normality. I’m not sure I know what that is anymore.

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