Recognition is the meat and potatoes of my life, in part because I’m still attempting to label my eating disorder “veganism,” and in part because I can’t afford actual meat or potatoes.
I love getting email as a result of this blog, especially if it’s praise or creepy fan letters that make me lock my doors twice. Even the hate mail is welcome, ‘cause it means that somebody’s reading. That said, often when I click over to whatever hyperlinked site is below the email signature I find myself less swelling with pride and more seething with envy.
Don’t get me wrong, it makes me happy that people who have homes, children, iPhones, cars, and advanced degrees in various subjects read my missives. I’d probably delete myself if the comments on this site even vaguely resembled those below the average YouTube clip.
But I want in to your exclusive club of responsible adults with savings accounts. Please. It’s become Ainsley’s Number One Whining Topic, subverting both Why Is Portland So Goddamn Flakey and Boyfriend’s Excessive Use Of Gadgets In Bed (not in the fun way, we’re talking about a SidekickID and an iPod Touch, not a Rabbit or a Hitachi Magic Wand, unfortunately.)
I am afraid that I will be living hand-to-mouth forever, constantly worrying myself to the point of an ulcer, soliciting work and stalking clients until I have a complete mental breakdown. It is terrifying to think that I might never be able to start a family simply because I won’t be able to afford one. When I discuss these coming-of-age concerns with my parents their solution is…
“Why don’t you get a book deal?”
This is often peppered with comparisons to David Sedaris and Rachel Ray, both of which make me kind of long for tubal ligation or to eat my face off, respectively.
I can’t imagine the sort of pitch I could propose in line at Starbucks or in the conference room of a publishing house.
“Uh, hey. I’d like to write a book about looking for work as a writer and how hard it is to actually get work as a writer but about how it’s, like, living the dream?”
Hum of radiator. Slight cough from the one with the visible pantyline from the back end of her skirt-suit. My editor furtively doing blow off of the binding of the most recent James Patterson release.
“Uh. I mean. It’s, like, a love story. A lesbian alcoholic moves across the country to be with the love of her life, who happens to be a man. A DJ. Who writes stories about children in peril.”
“There, on the West Coast, she loses everything, goes sober, and decides to try fulfill dream of being a professional writer while trying to make her first dick-‘n-vag relationship work. The two of them start a company, they struggle. And their clients are, like, stoner skateboarders, musicians with OCD, skeevy men, and tech geeks who make pottery. Oh, and there‘s a lot of sex, some of it kinky. And some violence. Like, bike crashes and falling off of skateboards.”
By now the suits are simply riveted.
“Do they live happily ever after?” They ask. My editor is texting an escort service.
“That depends. Does she get the book deal?”
In truth, breaking into publishing is very much like what I imagine becoming an actor is like: a heady concoction of success brewed from equal parts luck and who you know, garnished by blow-jobs. I have no idea what it entails, really.
But I do believe that to wind up with your words in actual books — which is to say, to triumph in a dying medium — you need one thing that’s a little bit more important than your idea or a decent editor who believes in you. You have to be completely dumb.
Again, this is not an insider’s view, it’s wholly speculative, merely an opinion based on these gems I’ve seen recently at a local and nameless bookstore that resembles a coffeeshop (or is it vice-versa?)
First, there is this.
And, lastly, this.
And these are just three of the precious print prizes that you, yes you, can spend your money on.
Me? My book? Confessions of a Writer for Hire would maybe have a slightly less conventionally attractive cover (I’m five feet tall, covered in tattoos, and have a hair cut that is a somewhat awkward mix of mid 90s Ani DiFranco and mid 80s Samhain) but it would be a hell of a lot more interesting. Though I have to be honest, I’ve got nothing that even comes close to doing the lindy with your cats.
Of course, a book deal would be great, but to be paid to blog, to me, would almost be better. After all, this gives me instant gratification and it‘s self-sustainable. I would be able to write as much as I’d like and send it out into the world instantaneously…and get paid for it. Basically it would be a more focused equivalent of what I’m doing here already, only instead of your gracious and unbelievable donations I’d be making a living off of some Perry White type.
I’ve even thought of opening it up to you, the readers, and saying that for a fee I’d write a post all about you…or whatever you wanted me to write about, may it be the best way to eat a grapefruit, Al Green, car parts, your mother in law, whatever. Just be a literal writer for hire.
As for now I’ll just continue to hope for That Big Break where I get an email begging me to write a book for a ludicrous amount of money or to blog for a weekly paycheck. As for steamy bath time erotica? I only have a shower and a fairly significant fear of drowning.
Hate mail, love letters, and stalkers can be sent to AinsleyDrew at gmail.