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Posts Tagged ‘Humor’

Ten things writers don’t want to hear — and five that we welcome

In behavior, blogging, books, business, culture, work on May 30, 2012 at 12:27 am
Merlin dictating his prophecies to his scribe,...

Merlin dictating his prophecies to his scribe, Blaise; French 13th century miniature from Robert de Boron’s Merlin en prose (written ca 1200). (Manuscript illustration, c.1300.) Arthur Cotterell, The Encyclopedia of Mythology, Lorenz Books/Anness Publishing Limited, 1996-1999, p. 114. ISBN 1-85967-164-0. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone who earns his/her living as a writer hears some mighty stupid shit along the way. Often.

 Like:

I’ve always wanted to write a book. I’m going to do that when I retire. Because, you know, it’s dead easy, right? Maybe you haven’t heard that tired old joke about the neurosurgeon who meets a writer at a party and tells the writer, “I plan to take up writing when I retire.” And the writer says…

Who’s your agent? Will you introduce me to them? I know you’ll tell me because you want to share your contacts with me. My work is exactly like yours and every bit as good. I just know it. (While you’re at it, make a pass at my partner or spouse.)

How are sales going? Oh, really? But I plan to be a successful writer.

Have I read anything you’ve written? And I would know everything you read because….?

Who do you write for? Yes, an innocent question. But, all too often, a tedious demand to prove your credentials. Zzzzzzzzzz.

Are your books best-sellers? Of course. Not.

My last three books were best-sellers. I know, already. And you know that I know.

I loved my MacArthur grant/Pulitzer/Neiman. So much fun! Get the hook.

Will you read my proposal/manuscript and tell me what you think? Sure, for a fee.

Oh, you charge for that? Of course not. Money? Every writer gets a lifetime numbered card from the government. We show it every time we rent a home and buy gas and groceries and clothes and medicine. We get a 50% discount for being, you know, creative! Not.

Here are five winners:

I loved your book(s). My favorite part was when…The whole point of writing is being read. Carefully.

Will you come and speak to our book club? Many of us enjoy meeting enthusiastic readers face to face and answering their questions. (Other authors are too shy or busy.)

Will you come and lecture at my school? For a fee that includes travel time, sure. Every unpaid hour for someone self-employed is lost income. You, the teacher/professor are earning a salary, paid sick and vacation days and, if lucky, a pension. Yes, I get that being invited to share my knowledge is an honor. I do. But my bills don’t care.

Will you speak at our annual conference? Of course we’ll pay you a fee and all travel expenses. You got it!

Are you available to offer coaching or editing — what do you charge? $150 to 200 an hour. When do we start?

For those of you who may still want to write/sell a book or two or three — here’s a very cool blog post with advice from Joyce Carol Oates who suggests the best way to develop a strong sure authorial voice (and readers hungry for more of it) — blog!

Is There Life After 50? Define “Life”

In aging, beauty, behavior, Health, life, women on October 3, 2011 at 12:22 am
Black and white portrait of actress Carlotta M...

Yeah, that's just about what a hot flash feels like....an unwanted assault. Image via Wikipedia

It’s so cute when young ‘uns discover that old folks, (those of us over 40), actually, you know, exist.

From a recent Styles section story in The New York Times , (by my fellow former True/Slant blogger Austin Considine), about a young man, Ari Seth Cohen, whose photographs celebrate elegant and stylish older women:

“The women who I photograph are confident,” he said. “They know what they like, they know what suits their bodies, and they’re dressing for themselves. They don’t dress based on trends.”

“I think a lot of the young people are inspired by the style,” he added, regarding his audience. “And as they get older, they’re inspired by the attitude.”

That attitude finds its apotheosis in women like Ilona Royce Smithkin: a flamboyant 91-year-old bachelorette, whose burlesque charms include a penchant for show tunes, daring colors and false eyelashes cut from her own shock of bright red hair. In younger years, she made her living as an artist, drawing book-jacket portraits of authors like Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neill…

“In America, once you turn a certain age, you’re sort of forgotten, you’re sort of made to feel that you’re invisible,” he said. “What I’m trying to do is give these women a voice and also show people that your life doesn’t end at 50.”

I hit the big FIVE-OHHHHHHHH in June 2007, and Jose was kind enough to cushion the blow by taking me to Paris. Nothing hurts in Paris!

But, frankly, what are you going to do? You get older, then you die. In the meantime, you get older. And, if you’re female, you are going to have to go through the hell of menopause along the way. For years, my mother warned me, “It’s going to get worse! Lose weight now!”

Cheerful stuff.

I don’t want to write about menopause for a few reasons: it’s personal, it’s too boring, it’s been written about to death already and it’s not the least bit interesting to anyone who is not in the middle of it.

It was helpful, though, to hear a Canadian friend my age tell me she literally walked into the lake in front of her rural home just to cool off from the incessant inanity of hot flashes. I loathe them. No one, anywhere, ever, wants to feel the slimy sheen of sweat accumulating on their throat and face, let alone dripping down their back — usually when you’re in the middle of trying to look and behave professionally before a critical (in both senses of that word) audience of strangers.

One night, when I was working retail, I tried to finish up a sale, in a polished and smooth manner, at the cash wrap. Then a hot flash hit, leaving me…

with a huge drop of sweat hanging from the tip of my nose.

Yeah, that was fun. I couldn’t (or felt I couldn’t) swipe at it gracefully. So I just tried to ignore it, and hoped they would too, and that my sweat would not drip onto their new purchase.

Here’s a funny, bitchy, right-on piece from The Atlantic by Sandra Tsing-Loh about menopause and how the world looks from the dark side of 50.

If you’re over 50, (especially my fellow females out there), how are things for you these days?

Make Me Laugh And I’m Yours, Baby!

In behavior, domestic life, education, life, religion on August 2, 2011 at 11:27 am
you laughed so hard you cried?

Image via Wikipedia

Is there anything less amusing than a day — a week — longer? without laughter?

Especially when times are terrifying and horrible and painful, you gotta laugh.

The men who have won my heart are the ones who made me laugh so hard I almost peed, like Bob, who took me to a Manhattan comedy club but made me laugh ten times harder on the drive home.

The sweetie and I met on-line, so our first few conversations were by phone, as we lived about 30 miles away from one another. I have no idea what he said, but something made me laugh so hard I snorted.

Sexy!

That’s the end of that, I figured. What man wants to date a chick who snorts?

But Jose, being Jose, thought this was — as Buddhists like to say — an auspicious sign. If he could make me laugh that hard, clearly I had some appreciation for: 1) the same things; 2) seen the same way; 3) him. All true, and here we are 11 years later.

The eight-day silent Buddhist retreat I recently attended certainly looked Very Serious Indeed. All the students had mala beads wrapped around their wrists, and prayer books wrapped in gorgeous Chinese silk bags and some of them fully prostrated before each teaching. Yikes!

I do take such matters seriously indeed, but a little lightness goes a long, long way with me.

Thank heaven for Lama Surya Das’ love of laughter. We were killing ourselves at his raucous, bawdy humor — which made a deeply thoughtful 90-minute teaching, with 20 points on one slide alone — fly by.

How often do you laugh?

Is it enough?

Martha's Skeleton — $149. Such a Deal!

In business on August 21, 2009 at 4:05 pm
Portrait of an articulated skeleton on a bentw...

Image by Powerhouse Museum Collection via Flickr

If you think that 9.4 percent unemployment and foreclosures popping up like mushrooms after the rain can slow for a nanosecond the production and distribution of those all-American porn-machines — catalogs filled with things you really do not need — please take a minute for Grandin Road, (Frontgate is the runner-up), a glossy book touting some arguably useful items like a dog-door or an inflatable bed but mostly filled with unnecessary items that cost a fortune.

Please check out their glitter-covered Martha Stewart-branded skeleton, which comes in green, white or black for $149. It’s 5″ high, 13″ wide and 8″ deep, and weighs five pounds. Irony-free, it even made the cover. Skeleton as mid-recession cover girl. Perfect!

The latest catalog, which arrived this week (I get a lot of catalogs, but I rarely buy), has 47 pages — 47 pages – of Hallowe’en related stuff, guaranteed to terrify the kiddies. There’s a skull and bones set, $34 for both; three fake pumpkins for $49, a fake 18″ vulture for $89; , even polyresin and stone powder fake gravestones for $59 to $79.

I have to confess I’m a little bit tempted by the 20-inch high pre-lit BEWARE sign I could stick into my lawn, if I had one, only $149.  I can think of many places this sign would fit right in: at the door of deadbeat clients, lyin’ sweethearts, maybe your local bank or credit card company charging you big fat fees for every breath you take.

Hell, if I want to scare myself to death, I can just sneak a between-my-fingers peek at my bank balance.

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