The Business of Me

I keep forgetting to set an appointment for my dental cleaning, which is due. And there’s a sharp spot behind my front lower teeth, something that I absolutely cannot stop rubbing my tongue against. Now the front of my tongue is scraped, and itches until I rub it against my lower teeth again, which causes pain. I switch back and forth between uncomfortable irritation, and the sharp pain of taste buds ripping. To stop the itch, I end up biting on the tip of my tongue until I can taste a little bit of blood. Then I’m sucking on my tongue.

Today I look like I’m chewing the most bitter piece of gum. I absolutely cannot stop and it’s times like these when I need a mother around to nag me into shame.

It would be helpful to have a mom in the house for a number of reasons, actually, not just the fact that I can’t stop cutting my tongue. The dry air and sudden cold has caused my eczema to act up, and the skin behind my right ear is now cracked and raw, just like when I was a little kid. I’m getting rough patches on my jawline as well. There’s nothing like the look on your boyfriend’s face when you ask him why your ear is itching and you notice he’s stopped breathing when he says, “It’s bleeding.” No, I’m wrong. The best look is right after that, when you’re making a grumpy face and complain, “My eczema’s back. Remind me to buy some cream tonight before it gets worse.” Wait, I’m wrong again. It’s the look when you tell him childhood horrors about your ears crusting up and over, sealing your new pierced studs into your earlobes and how your mom would have to pull crusted skin off your head at night while you howled in pain — that look he gives you when he has to remind himself that he loves you unconditionally — that’s the best look in the world.

So I’d like my mommy here because my skin is raw and bleeding in places, and my tongue has worried itself into a sore, and I got sick on Japanese food yesterday and I went out of the house today with a wet head. Yeah, I wore a hat, but I’d still be in trouble if she had seen me outside without a coat and a wet head.

Mostly I’d like my mommy here because this weekend I have to make some grown-up choices, and I’d much rather not have to think about them.

I’ve been asked to figure out what kind of career I’d like to have over the next five years. I have to determine what kind of a writer I want to be, and who’s career would I most like to pattern my own after. I should mention here that this is currently only in regards to my novel-writing stuff, but soon I’ll have a meeting with my other agents and I’ll have to figure out the “Business of Pamela Ribon.” Agents love to say that: the “business” of “client’s name,” as in “They want to get into the Pamela Ribon business.” It does have a nice ring to it.

I’ve always avoided making a five-year plan. It comes from having to lie to potential employers at job interviews. I never wanted their company to be a part of my five-year plan, and if I saw myself still in their building five years from that very moment, I would have asked someone to hit me over the head with a blunt object. So I’d be intentionally vague and misleading, as the truth was in five years I saw myself on stage being incredibly fantastic somewhere, or in a huge home that had a yard with a dog, or staying in a variety of hotel rooms on some kind of tour, or pretty much anywhere but an office or a cubicle or a staff meeting or a place where I had to wear panty hose.

Then I learned that keeping myself from having a plan meant I didn’t shy away from opportunities when they arose. If I had made a five-year plan five years ago from today, back when I was at Austin, working for IBM, I would have a completely different life.

My entry from five years ago today reads:

staying still
i got hired
06 November 98

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting at my office and I was searching the web. You know how you’ll put your own name in there to see what you find? Well, apparently my last name is a Japanese Comic company that has its own magazine. I don’t know what my last name means in Japanese, but it’s pretty popular. So I was searching on this page to try and find some pictures of anime stills for lemon and I got a phone call.

It was the man from the anime company, and they wanted to hire me for their current project. I got hired! I go in Monday to start the shooting, and I have to sign some sort of contract (so I can get paid), but the contract also states that I don’t plan on moving anywhere for the next six months or so…

I told him about Aspen, and how I may be going up there, and he said it wasn’t a concern.

So, now I know that I need to stay here for a while… see the role that I got is a reoccurring role in this series of tapes, so if they end up having to dub the entire series, I could be doing this for a while. I’m pretty stoked, as I had a really good time doing the audition.

I feel absolutely terrible today. There’s a crazy flu going around, and I have this headache and I keep sneezing and my head is all stuffed up and my spine aches… I can’t tell if I have a fever, but I’m nauseous and nasty. I don’t want to ask to go home because we are understaffed today, and they are re-arranging my schedule next week for the shooting… but man I feel lousy. I don’t even want to do the show tonight… I just want to go home and sleep.

I did the voice for City Hunter for less than a year. And I never had to go perform at the Aspen Comedy Festival. But if I had stuck to a plan, I would have missed out on five years of freelance anime work, which really helped me out when I was in a jam.

I could still be in Austin. I could be married. I could be still performing at the Velveeta Room.

If I had planned out my life just then, I wouldn’t have included being a writer, living in Los Angeles, writing novels and screenplays and television pilots…they wouldn’t have even entered the possibilities.

I always thought it was a bad idea, and now I need to do it. I have to come up with some serious five year decisions and determine what kind of career I want to have. This is because my new novel isn’t “Chick Lit,” and therefore it’s important for me to let someone know the kind of stories I plan on writing in the future, and what kind of author I should be marketed as.

The business of Pamela Ribon, you see. It needs branding. A log line. An elevator pitch.

Five years from now. What do I see?

To be honest, I’ve never tried to plan past six months. With the way my life has always gone, things change so dramatically in that time that all plans are tossed out the window.

If my mom got to write my five-year plan, by the way, my next three books would have to be horror novels. Clearly this is a decision I’ve got to figure out on my own. I have to determine what direction I’d like to go with my career.

I have to stop letting the wind push me around and get a little more focused, I guess. Around here, they call that a “high-class problem.”

Five years ago I would have thought a high-class problem had something to do with tax evasion, and that the business of Pamela Ribon was about my rarely-visited webpage.

If you need me, I’ll be the brooding artist in the corner, debating my artistic mission statement.

I never thought I’d have to do this.

Currently Reading: Cat’s Eye.

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