Sunday, July 12, 2009

Funemployment, Indeed!

July 10, 2009

I’m in Vancouver for a couple of days, but the writing continues. In fact, I should be more productive since someone else is caring for the dogs and I have fewer excuses for leaving a library and returning home where I’m typically less productive.

Anyway, I was putting off the beginning of today’s writing by planning to swim laps at a local pool. Unfortunately, due to the ferry timing and traffic, I had to forego that idea since there wasn’t enough time to fit in a decent workout before the pool would be overtaken by floating mats, plastic basketball nets and bendy Sytrofoam sticks—they must have a name, but I’m not in thick with the bendy stick crowd.

I went for a cinnamon bun instead. Yeah, I know, aquatic exercise or decadent pastry, there seems to be something illogical in my choice pairings. One might accuse me of driving awfully slowly to the pool, but I’m sticking to my stance that I really wanted to swim.

While I tore away at my lunch (yes, lunch—cinnamon is one of those good-for-you spices, isn’t it?), I picked up a free local rag, WE, billed as “Vancouver’s urban weekly”. The cover story caught my attention: “Congratulations, you’re fired. It’s time for Funemployment.” Okay, I’ve never been axed, but I still felt I’d be able to connect with the article. In reading, I learned that funemployment was first used about a month ago in San Francisco’s SF Weekly. Everybody wants to coin a new word. (I read in this week that frenemy and vlog just made the cut. I’ll play along and nominate webstereyes, a verb, for the act of trying to create a new word to earn a place in standard dictionaries, as in This lame word is my attempt to webstereyes, my alternative track for getting published. You saw it here first!)

Back to this new SF term. I don’t think it’s catchy enough to catch on just yet. Shorten it to funployment and I think you’ve got a hit. So what does the word mean? For those of you who can’t imagine what an expression derived from fun + employment could pertain to, I’ll quote WE’s reference to the original source. The term refers to “laid-off people…collecting unemployment benefits and using their newfound time to reassess their career goals, and then launch their own creative businesses.” Basically, getting creative in an effort to make ends meet in tough times.

People are daring to explore paths they’d never dared dream to pursue as a career. That’s the part I can relate to. I’m just the crazy one who isn’t collecting EI in the process. No net to catch my fall. Still, I can underscore the fun in my own version of funployment. An acquaintance gently mocked me yesterday for taking three whole days off in transitioning from principal to writer. Well, I couldn’t wait any longer. It seems I waited ten months to get started on this adventure and another week to read a trashy novel or watch Oprah reruns seemed a total waste. (That Serengeti safari got nixed on account of my new frugality.) I’m early into my year of writing, but I’m loving it. When I power down the laptop each evening, I’m excited about resuming the next day.

After a swim workout or cinnamon bun excursion, of course.

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