Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sunny and Cloudy

On Monday morning after I returned from a fantastic week in Portland, I was promptly fired from my job. I don't know why. I wasn't allowed a reason. My computer was seized. I was given a severance & asked to pack my things & leave.

For over two years I had been the author events director for an independent bookstore. I'd taken pride in it, but those who know me know my incessant complaining about the job was a regular pastime. This was because, whatever I was feeling, I felt strongly about this job. I have worried and sacrificed a lot of my time & sanity to make the series a good and interesting one. And I think it worked. But in the end, it seems it was all for nil as my efforts have landed me in the negative, regardless of the work put in.

I was ready for a change. However, I didn't want it to end as it was played out. I would have liked to have left on my own volition, received some appreciation, a thank you, some respect. I would have liked to have said goodbye. Shake some hands. I would have liked to have given some long overdue thank yous, confessions, and hugs. My colleagues & friends busted their asses for me, for the events, and put up with a lot of shit, and I owe them. I wish they all earned a lot more. They deserve it.

I have worked a lot of jobs, and all my life almost all of have been independent establishments. It was less something that I believed in, rather than something I naturally gravitated toward. However, I've come to believe the rhetoric of the independent is mainly just that - rhetoric. And more often than not - empty. The plight of the independent is a political device used to instill loyalty, a rhetoric motivated and reiterated by fear (of the threat of going under) and guilt (the kind you put upon the customers & employees).

This isn't something thats ubiquitous of all independents, obviously, but a fact that's understated and under-challenged. Independents are supposed to be the good guys, but if the independent establishment doesn't differ itself in its practices (and products) from the supposed mainstream establishments & corporations, then there is little to base their rhetoric on.

I think I tried to make things a bit different, though it wasn't always easy given the neighborhood and setting. I could have done a lot more, and would have liked to. But it felt good hosting oddball authors, not-well-known poets, or bringing writers to a community that don't always care to embrace them.

I don't think the empty rhetoric and practices are the result of someone who is duplicitous or evil. It is the result of someone who has lost their way. In Portland, it was refreshing to see so many young people thriving in their work. I look forward to the day when more young, focussed individuals around the country can get loans and settle down into their own independent businesses, their own states of mind. Of course, now is not the time. It may be a while.

People are strange. I don't understand the tendency towards passive aggressive behavior. This may be because I am wretched at masking emotions, which most commonly lead to arguments. I am the first to admit I am often a douche, which I stupidly refer to as being straightforward.

In the end, I have worked with some great people, met some invaluable friends, and witnessed some inspiring work take shape. I have seen Chris Matthews in his underwear. You can't get that image just anywhere.

It is time to take a break and write and sleep and eat and jog and re-learn German and get into grad school and read Frank Standford and appreciate people and love and drink and do push ups and make dinners and clean and pet the cat and collect unemployment and write and write and write.

"Thank you for your time."


Elisa said...

Whoa ... WTF???

I just sent you an email at your Booksmith address. Did you/can you get that?

Anonymous said...

That sucks
I remember the same thing happened to a teacher all the students liked in middle school and we all rallied and got on the news and chanted, but they didn't give him his job back.
Oh well
good luck

Anonymous said...

John Cotter said ...

Brian that sucks! I've just googled "Chris Matthews in his Underwear" --from my work computer--and you are entirely correct. Of the three sites where that phrase appears, Eunuch Blues is the first. That's not nothing.

I'm sorry to hear about it, but if this means more time for your writing, that's good news for you & everyone else. Good luck!

Brian Foley said...

Then this post is a success. I am back on top!

And thanks everyone.

Kathleen Rooney said...

Ugh, Brian, I'm so, so sorry to hear that. That's a huge loss to the store and to the Boston literary community--you did such excellent work there. Thanks for everything and good luck w/ whatever is next.

p said...

that is terrible

Noah Falck said...

sorry to hear this news.

Axelphoto said...

Those ballsacks at the Booksmith didn't deserve you or your talents, Brian. You had a good run at that job, but let's be honest: you were done alooooong time ago.

So: Eff' 'em. Eff' 'em in the A.

I like the writing writing writing idea, though. You should do that.