September 26, 2002

Will Write for Nothing

Why thank you very much, dear recent Fragments reader, who asked if I had considered writing for the purpose of income. I'm sorry, but this reminded me again of an old family favorite joke that we poke at our wannabe writer-son:

Know the difference between a large pizza and a writer?

A large pizza can feed a family of four.

My attempts to germinate the seeds of Fragments or related writings have, to date, fallen on solid rock and amongst the choking weeds (purslane and galinsoga, I believe). I have sewn but I have not reaped. This writing business is darned frustrating.

Goaded by my agent-cheerleader-wife, I submitted something back in early June to the local Public Radio station to be read as a on-air essay. "Yes, by all means, we can use it. Edit it down to three minutes and resubmit it". Sent. Nothing. Later, after a followup email, I learned that the editor at the station could not read my email attachment in Word97 because his work computer was still running Windows 3.1. Oh my. Time warp. I pictured sepia-toned balding men in starched white shirts sitting amongst reel-to-reel tape machines with large dials and glowing tubes, talking into microphones the size of large zucchini. Ann and I decided at that moment that we must increase our pledge during the next Public Radio fund drive. Bless their little hearts.

I resubmitted the 3-minute essay in simple txt in the body of the email. They DO get email. No response. And as Forest would say, that's all I gotta say 'bout that.

Again, at the not-so-gentle proddings from said agent (no physical prod was actually used on this occasion, just verbal barbs which leave no tell-tale scars) I printed off a dozen or so of my veggie tales from the summer and carried them by a local newspaper office. The editor was out of town but would look at it and call me the next week, I was assured. After two return visits finding the editor first on vacation, then, on her day off...I requested, again, that she call me when she returned. If nothing else, I wanted my hard copies back. And that was that. Nada.

Well this certainly fluffed my writer's self-esteem. I can't even get equal billing with the 'man grows giant rutabaga' and 'fubsy grandchild celebrates birthday' postings locally. Whatever.

And finally, there was the fleeting excitement over the enthusiasm from the photo editor of a regional travel magazine who (initially) expressed great interest in images from Fragments. "Yes, we are definitely interested. Send me a proposal for a theme that would accompany your images"....which I did, a shot in the dark, not having much in the way of guidelines for what exactly it was that he wanted. Nothing. I sent an email asking for clarification regarding the magazine's exact needs.

A return email a week later says he has given my name and email yadayadayada to the chief editor. Don't call us, we'll call you. Next time, should I contact Dr. Jeckyl, or Mr. Hyde, please sir?

And so it goes. I have reached the conclusion that I live in the Writer's Bermuda Triangle, from which no images or words will ever be published, other than through Fragments: the Vanity Press of Goose Creek.

That's okay with me as I always have my two weblog readers, one of whom thinks I write like Tom Robbins. I certainly accept this as a compliment, although my scant exposure to Tom made me wonder if he wrote while in a cloud of blue smoke smelling of burnt cork. (Would that work for me?) But He certainty makes a living at writing.

Say, you know, this writing business is hungry work. I think I'll order us a pizza.

Ann? You got any money?

Posted by fred1st at September 26, 2002 05:16 AM

Ohh, being compared to Tom Robbins IS a nice thing as long as its just writing style, and for that matter as long as you are compared to his early (Even Cowgirls .., Jitterbug Perfume, Still life ..)style and not that of late. I've gotten kinda bored of, what seems to me, his style of trying to be wierd.
My wife met him a few times in Seattle when she lived there and worked at a book store he frequented. She said he was very full of himself and his splender.
oh well, I really dont know if anyone would be any different if they had the success that he has.

Posted by: dave at September 26, 2002 06:25 AM

Robbins was on the downhill side even by Jitterbug and Still Life. You, my friend, are the ascent. Hang in there.

Posted by: sainteros at September 26, 2002 08:53 AM

Robbins was on the downhill side even by Jitterbug and Still Life. You, my friend, are on the ascent. Hang in there.

Posted by: sainteros at September 26, 2002 08:53 AM

not that it will make you feel any better, but there are a lot of us out here plugging away at vanity presses of our own making. excuse the trite cliche, but keep writing and things will change. surely if this post is any indication, it's only a matter of time.

Posted by: Kurt at September 26, 2002 09:27 AM

Yep, it was Jitterbug that made me wonder 'about ol' Tom. My first, and so far, only Robbins thing. He weirded me out and I tiptoed quietly out of the room at about page 100.

Anybody recommend any earlier things...Cowgirls, maybe, worth a read (so that I may grow into the literary realm into which I have been so kindly and undeservedly been thrust by dear reader Lisa.)?

Yes, Kurt, it is only a matter of time. I would project that, at the current rate of maturation in my writing prowess, given another 460 years, I may produce something finally worth publication in the Floyd Press...maybe an essay about the guy that grew the county's largest rutabaga.

And Kurt (Sainteros) ((BTW I have had an outbreak of (C)(K)urts here at Fragments, total of 4 now))... thanks for the projection...apogee in 460 more years...the rush toward the top is dizzying, all the blood is rushing to my feet! The acceleration! The G-forces! .:-] Hey, that emoticon I just concocted looks like Aaron Neville, don't you think?

Posted by: fredf at September 26, 2002 09:57 AM

Ok...I have laughed entirely too hard this morning for a person sitting alone in her house trying to drink a cup of coffee without choking!

Posted by: Lisa at September 26, 2002 10:14 AM

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who takes offense at being blown off by editors. Similar things have happened to me several times. Why can't they be honest and tell us to go away if they're not interested, instead of repeatedly saying they'll call? It's too much like dating. Only it's their job to pursue good stories, so I can't imagine what the excuse is for blowing off people who have ideas they were initially interested in. Keeping a weblog is much more rewarding than jumping through hoops for editors, don't you think? Money aside.

Posted by: Fran at September 26, 2002 01:41 PM

....the Writer's Bermuda Triangle. Well, welcome. You have a great crowd to hang around with here.
Blog on!

Posted by: Bene Diction at September 26, 2002 04:26 PM

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