A *lot* of what I’m doing this past week has been organizing and reorganizing my life. I realized that I needed staff a year or so ago, and it’s trying to figure out how to get staff when I don’t have money for staff that’s been part of the problem. Luckily, there are a lot of tasks that are volunteer do-able, and there is some money for staff, so I think it’s sorting itself out? Maybe? Slowly.
Part of it is also figuring out Trello boards and Discord and Google Drive, so that all these far-flung groups can share content effectively. We’re getting there. Some of what I’ve sorted out more clearly this week:
– household management is a separate thing that can be handed off pretty easily, and Christopher Pence has been doing that wonderfully for a while. Everything from laundry to dishes to outdoor chores to taking down the holiday decorations to running errands, all freeing up time for me to think / write. He’d also be great at physically managing the Maram arts center if we get into a space, so we’re hoping that will work out, at least part-time. And maybe he’d have a little time for his own writing there too, in a creative space? I hope so!
– social media / PR is a separate thing that can be handed off pretty easily and done remotely, and we’re delighted that Irene Victoria has been helping with that. We can even pay her, which is great.
– SLF: Colleen Waldie is project manager there, and the main point of contact — I talk to her, and she talks to everyone else. Well, not really, but it means that I don’t have to try to keep track of every little detail. That’s her (volunteer) job. 🙂 She’s been a con chair for SF, so she knows the field intimately, and knows how to wrangle a passel of volunteers, which is what this job needs.
– Maram: Meghan O’Shea is project manager there. Ditto much of the previous!
– DesiLit: I don’t have anyone project managing this, but it’s mostly on hiatus right now, with very little active happening beyond the lit mag, Jaggery, which Anu Mahadev has taken over almost completely, and the Chicago monthly book club, which Sital Shah and crew run completely without me.
The main thing I could still use on this is someone else to cut checks for Jaggery, so I don’t have to think about it — if I had an office manager here in Chicago, I’d pass that off to them. If we wanted DesiLit to start doing more again (we used to have local chapters in various cities, the Kriti Festival, etc.), then I’d need a volunteer project manager to oversee that. (If that’s you, let me know!) I just don’t have the bandwidth right now. (Look at me, acknowledging the obvious that everyone has been telling me for years! Personal growth, people, that’s what you’re seeing here.)
There’s some possibility that the Sri Lanka retreat might get run out of DesiLit, so that’s a thing to think about. Well, we’ll see.
– Serendib Press / Serendib Kitchen: These are still just me, which is why they get done in a haphazard manner. An office manager would help with this.
– Mary Anne Mohanraj. I could use someone to project manage me, primarily re: the writing career, but also to facilitate all the arts organization work above. Executive assistant would work too? Office manager? Heather has been trying to do it, but it’s really hard to do remotely, because at least the first stage is sitting down with me, understanding everything I do, and gently taking things off my plate, one by one. I can hand her concrete tasks remotely, like booking my travel, but some of the rest is much more amorphous and hard to pin down. We’re going to try it a little longer, see if we can make it work, but I may need someone here in Oak Park who can actually swing by daily and work with me for an hour or two. If so, then Heather will move to more task-oriented discrete projects. Or maybe if Heather and I have a daily conversation, we can do it remotely? I’m honestly not sure. We’ll see.
Oof. It’s a lot, but honestly, it really helps laying it all out. I’ve been saying for a little while that I’m trying to do five peoples’ jobs, but I think I didn’t really believe it? I was doing those jobs very badly, and very minimally, in a rather scrambly, desperate sort of way. They could be done so much better, and then I might even have time to finish writing some books?
Let’s see how it goes.

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