Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jury duty, wanting to be a paralegal

Today I had to report to the court to do jury duty, and my name got called for a trial. I had been hoping my name wouldn't get called, but it did, and I ended up getting selected for the jury, meaning I have to go back tomorrow. Fortunately, the trial is supposed to end by tomorrow (I think) so that's good. But if I get out before the usual end time (4:30) I still have to go into work - Augie told me this when I called work to let them know I'd been put on a jury and had to serve tomorrow. So I have to dress for work tomorrow.

Due to the regulations jurors must follow, I can't talk about the details of the case right now. Afterwards, I'll likely blog about it, though.

For some reason, this sort of thing makes me really nervous. I'm not sure if it's just my extreme introverted nature or if it's the gravity of having to decide someone's fate with 11 total strangers. I did get really nervous during the jury selection questions.


On a related note, I saw a TV commercial the other day for some school with vocational degrees. The one featured was for paralegals. This is an occupation that came up in the top 10 occupations for me on the Strong Inventory, and one that I've had some interest in for awhile since I took a class in legal transcription and liked it.

After today, though, I am not sure I want to be a paralegal or in any law-related profession. Maybe I was spooked by the jury selection process, I don't know.

I keep telling myself - or my conscience does - to trust God with this whole career thing, but I just can't resist the need to plan ahead what field I want to go in after college as a fallback plan if my writing doesn't work out. I mean, it's good to plan ahead - I even asked my mom if this was the right thing, since I felt that maybe it meant I didn't trust God, and she said it was the right thing.

I'm hoping that the class I'm taking through church - called "Discover Your Spiritual Gifts" - will help give me direction. I may want to take some career inventories again (though I may end up with the same results as I did 3 years ago).

I just started re-reading the book Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey, a book I got about 3/4 of the way through before the powers that be at Loaves and Fishes wouldn't let me read while watching the front counter anymore. In it, Yancey talks about his study of Exodus and Leviticus and concludes that if God were to directly reveal his will to us to the same extent as he did to the Israelites back then, our following of him would be based more on obedience than faith. As Galatians 2:21 says, "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose" (ESV). Or as the New Living Translation (a translation that the Bible I had in junior high was in) puts it: "I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die."

I am someone who tries to follow all the rules - at work, at school, in life. Since I am as falliable as everyone else, I fail often at this. It bugs the heck out of me.

When doing the spiritual gifts test for my class, though I didn't have the scoring sheet (the teacher has that, and he's going to help us score it next class meeting), I saw somewhat of a pattern emerging. I think that, as with the previous paper test I took, my #1 gift might be missionary. Now, I do enjoy learning about other cultures and I do well with languages. But I don't do well socially, and my school life going to a private Christian school that was predominantly white makes me rather ignorant in how to interact with those of different races and religions.

This semester, when they had a job fair at school, I went around the tables and picked up some flyers. One of the "businesses" there was the Peace Corps. I was looking at one of their flyers the other day and it said that one way to make you stand out as a candidate is to learn one year of French or two years of Spanish. This was followed by a comment stating "Currently, there is a much greater need for French speakers than for Spanish speakers."

That stood out to me because I am a French minor. So I have taken more than 1 year of French. The only one of their programs that I was interested in though was English Teaching, and you need tutoring experience for that. I got recommended as a tutor twice at MiraCosta and the one time I did apply I didn't get a tutoring job.

They also have a program that combines Peace Corps volunteering with grad school. Either you can do the Master's International program, where you go to school first and then volunteer, or Fellows/USA, where you volunteer first and then go to school.

I just don't know though - the volunteering alone is a 27 month commitment, which is a long time. Granted, three of those months you're in training, but still. I'd have to quit my current job to do it, since you can't get any other employment while on a leave of absence from Stater Bros.

Dang, career stuff is so dang difficult!!!!

Since leaving the courthouse, I haven't been able to relax. I don't know if it's the can of Coke I drank during the lunch break (Coke makes me a little ADD for some reason...yet I still drink it) or something else.

I think all this free time is driving me crazy, which may seem odd to anyone reading this. When I was in school, I felt there wasn't enough free time, but now that I have free time, I don't know what to do with myself.

I have been listening to the talks for Randy Ingermanson's Fiction 101 course (although I gave it a few days off, and then got frustrated with it because the tracks were playing in random order). I also am doing research for my current novel-in-progress, Darkly Bound. Today, I took some handwritten notes from a book called The Nomadic Alternative, which I got from the Cal State library. I got this book so I could research nomadic life as a basis for my witch-siren characters. It's interesting, but it was hard to find what would apply to me, so I went through the table of contents and marked the parts I thought might be relevant. I also did this for the other book I had with me, a book called The Gypsies, which is also for witch-siren research (the odd thing is, all I want to research is them and their culture, but books on this have been ridiculously hard to find). In the Gypsies book though, I marked certain pages of the bibliography (so I could find more and hopefully more relevant books) as well as a page in the index.

So far in my research I have researched London, mythology, and theater/drama terms (my main character is a stage manager at a theater). Aside from those and the nomad and Gypsies books, I found two great books on the behind-the-scenes workings of theaters: Theatrical Design and Production and a gem I hadn't found in my catalog searches, The Stage Management Handbook (which, though from 1992, should still provide some basic information).

I haven't decided what play the theater's last-ditch play will be. I'm tempted to do Macbeth, since many theaters in financial trouble will produce it to try to make revenue (yet another suggestive aspect of the "Macbeth curse"). But for the sake of my story I think it would be cool to do a play that sort of mirrors Avalon's own journey. I may have to make one up for the sake of the story. Just so I don't try to write my story to fit a theme (Randy Ingermanson says in his Theme talk that if you do that, you'll come off sounding preachy).

Randy Ingermanson also talks about your main character having a goal, and makes it sound like there should only be one. But right now my main character has three goals: break her curse, find her father, and keep the theater from going under. I can think of a good motivation for all three: a motivation of stability/order. I guess I can figure that out later though. (The first draft is meant to be chaotic, says Randy Ingermanson).

Gah!! I can't take this thinking anymore. It's making me worry too much. I'm going to go now. I don't want to stay up too late since I have court tomorrow. Good night!

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