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(Potentially) Sellin' Out

Categories: This Writer's Life.
It is true that there are a lot of benefits to the writing life.  
There are the hours, of course, that come with a flexible schedule,  
not to mention the clothing choices. For example, right now it is  
10:30 AM, and I am wearing sweatpants and a long sleeve t-shirt, and  
I feel slightly overdressed. There is the allure of feeling like  
you’re totally in charge of the work that you are creating (although  
that might just be a fiction, what with editors, and publishing  
houses, and agents trafficking in and molding your word play) and the  
rather selfish thought that you might have something tangible  
existing in this world long after you’ve exited. And, of course,  
there is the faint glimmer of hope that you might be “The Writer”,  
the next someone, and famous and rich and able to afford a sick  
summer cottage on Lake George with a tire swing and one of those  
expensive looking gas grills. But, friends, as you all know, you  
can’t have pro’s without…um…non-pro’s. And there are several non-
pro’s in the writing life.

For one, money. I don’t so much make any, as I do not make any, and  
I’m actually kind of successful. For two, loneliness. I spend much of  
my day staring, either at my computer, or out the window, or at the  
hippies who are sitting next to me at the coffee shop hand rolling  
clove cigarettes. Spending day after day in the company of your own  
thoughts is (probably) the quickest way to insanity, especially for  
someone whose third grade teacher described as “irritatingly social”.  
With that said, every once in awhile, I start to dream about selling  
out. It happens a lot when I’m watching “The Office”, and I think about  
how much I want to complain about my job, and be forced to make lunch  
choices from a vending machine or sue someone for wrongful  
termination. Anyway, if I ever do decide to stop “stickin’ it to the  
Man” and start joining the Man’s Wednesday night cribbage league,  
here are three jobs that I think a writer–like myself– could  
successfully sell out for.

1. Company spokesperson. Companies have spokespeople, people who  
usually read and write press releases and try and put a good spin on  
terrible, terrible events, or disastrous stock plunges, or the rumor  
that Rosie and Lizzie Hasselbeck aren’t “great friends”. Modestly  
speaking, I think I would be great at this. I always liked debate,  
even if it meant taking a side of an issue I was opposed to, and I’m  
sure I could find a way to fire myself up about looking on the bright  
side of a tire recall or the seventh straight quarter of plummeting  
Skip-It sales. In fact, I’m ready to do this job right now. Someone  
hire me. I’ll be your communications Rumpelstiltskin, spinning straw  
into gold, and–depending on my compensation package– you won’t even  
have to give me your first-born child. Think on it.

2. Corporate Communications Consultant. I kind of made this position  
up, but I’m almost positive it exists. I’d be like the guy who comes  
in when the company sets aside a day for special events, and–instead  
of soliciting trust falls– makes some neat PowerPoint presentation  
about the endless possibilities of communicating effectively in the  
workplace. I would use a lot of buzzwords, like “synergy” and  
“proactive” and “boo yah” and snap and point a lot, when someone else  
said something I liked. I’d also be frustratingly cheerful, especially  
because I was getting 10 g’s a class, and end the day with some sort  
of New Age breathing exercise. Wow, it’s kind of scary how well  
thought out that was.

3. Totally Famous Actor. You know when someone says “you should be an  
actor” and you dismiss it by bashfully saying you could never do  
that, but in reality you think you would be really good at it, if  
only–while you were in high school– your mother didn’t crush your  
dreams of being on television by saying that your earlobes were “a  
little big for the camera”, which forced you to spend a lot of time  
staring in the mirror at your earlobes, which caused you to stop  
wearing baseball caps, which forced you to shave your head, which  
effectively prevents you from using that cool hair stuff that  
celebrities these days use, which is probably the only reason you  
aren’t in Vancouver right now, remaking “House Party 2″ with Nick  
Canon? Yeah, me neither.

Feel free to drop your own sell out jobs in the comments. And I know  
it’s very annoying to be a Boston sports fan right now with their  
Dutch-Navy-in-the-1600s-like dominance, but if you’ll allow me one  
indulgence: Happy Soxtober, baby.

Ain’t Nobody Humpin’ Around,

Bobby,
Brown

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17 Responses to (Potentially) Sellin' Out

  1. Glen Humplik says:

    No doubt, give it all up to sell toilet paper, i mean you never have to buy toilet paper again!

  2. Bobby Higgy says:

    So rad…..I mean…sweatpants in the middle of a weekday!!!

    One,
    Love

  3. Kevin Alexander says:

    I think maybe the hippies read my blog, because today they seemed particularly incensed by my presence. I’m considering trying to offer a truce of sorts. Does anyone know if hippies like Rice Krispy Treats or should i just make them a mix tape of Phish shows from the early 90s?

  4. Anne says:

    That’s great Genevieve! Your onto something with that idea.

  5. Genevieve Cancienne says:

    Kevin,

    You could make the hippi studies your alternative career. You could become like Jane Goodall only you’d study hippies instead of apes. Your journal would read thusly (with a British accent), "Day 24 at Espresso Royale: The hippies spend much of their time listlessly grooming one another, picking nits out of each others’ unwashed hair. One wonders if this is part of their social behavior or if they simply have the munchies. Further research and more caffeine are necessary to draw a proper conclusion."

  6. Kevin Alexander says:

    PS- Genevieve: You have no idea how much time I spend thinking/writing/staring at the hippies in Espresso Royale. It takes up most of my day. I think they’re on to me and semi-inflamed by my fascination. Luckily, hippies are famously passive/high and uninterested in anything that doesn’t resemble hemp/The String Cheese Incident.

    PPS- I don’t know if I’ve hyped it before in my blog but–seeing how i’m trying to avoid mainly concentrating on pop culture in the actual blog– I’m recommending everyone going to http://www.clarkandmichael.com and start with episode 1. It might be my favorite internet show of all time. Seriously. Clark Duke is kind of legendary. Hilarity definitely ensues.

  7. Kevin Alexander says:

    I like the idea that so many of us want sugar daddies to finance our writing lives. I definitely want some sort of "sugar mama" and would have no problem accepting a role as house husband. I like washing dishes, can make two(ish) types of chicken cacciatore, and am aggressively unafraid to admit that i like Taye Diggs/Hugh Grant romantic comedy vehicles. I’m also up right now at 8 AM and I have NO idea why.

  8. Ashley says:

    I’m hoping my boyfriend turns out to be a great sugar daddy. If someone were going to pay me an egregious sum of money to be a daytime nanny. (Though my fantasy is not so far from it — I want to be able to stay home, write, clean house, and have kids. It ain’t right, I tell you.)

  9. Genevieve Cancienne says:

    Dude, the whole reason I read this blog is to get the latest update on the hippies.
    I know what you mean about the low pay and all of the other crummy compromises you have to make. I wouldn’t bother with writing if I wasn’t drawn to it, but then I think that’s a general feeling among most in the creative fields because I have friends who are artists and musicians and they say the same thing. If I denied myself writing I would probably go into anthropology, archeology or (yikes) English teaching. You know, the big money fields. In fact…man…I don’t think I have an interest in ANY career that would enable me to live outside of this cardboard box that I’m shacking up in at the moment. The box is just temporary living situation. Seriously, just until Better Homes and Gardens picks up my article "50 Fabulous Ways to Make The Racoons Stop Eating Your Cardboard Walls."

  10. Leah says:

    Watching the people on "The Office" go through those particular trials is more entertaining than the real life versions; commonly known as "The Grind".

    I’m convinced there is a position similar to number two in every office. One of these individuals in my office loves the phrase "word smith". They also make more money and get to be a little more creative than the rest of us, so that is a good one.

    I’d have to agree with Jean, my dogs (and cat) all have it made. I’ve always thought that being a video game tester would be fun.

    One day I’m going to "sell out" and become a full time writer…I dig the dress code!

  11. Anne says:

    I’m gonna take the roll of momma bear here, furry-tender momma bear, okay? because you sound young and today, a little more insecure than your usuall neurotic self. –Hey, nothing but love man. If your truely contemplating selling out, then I’d like to discourage you. Since your already front and center in the magazine business, you may want to consider other avenues of employment within the business your in rather than changing directions all together. You don’t want to have to start over from scratch. In any new field, they’ll be cons you don’t or can’t forsee before hand. You may regret it and feel a sense of personal disappointment. Once realizing your mistake some 5 years down the line, you may not be able to go back and get what you gave up. If you truely want to change directions in life, that’s fine but remember, in most cases only kids can make rash descions and get away with it, or so it seems. Chin up, son, you’ll be fine. -Your a writer, and that’s it. Now, go clean your den!

  12. In the evenings, I would be a stand-up comedian, capable of devising – via adlib or whispers from ghostly companions – tummy holding funnies, about golf, golfing and golfers.

    In the mornings, I would play golf.

    Afternoons I would write famously acceptable, golf murder mysteries.

    Oh wait… I’m already doing the last two (So..okay I’m not famous yet).
    It’s getting stand-up comedy gigs that’s delaying the first alternate to this writer’s life.

    J.J. Gowland
    author of "Confessions of a Sandbagger"

  13. Susan says:

    Corporate Communications Consultant TOTALLY exists!! If I were to sell out, then I would just get a Sugar Daddy so I didn’t have to work. They could be my literary patron and provide me with a steady supply of magazines, Chex Mix and fancy champagne. Honestly, though, I can’t see myself being that kind of girl. Ah, well…

  14. Jean M Fogle says:

    I have decided my dream job is to be my dog!

    While I slave away at the computer, she chews on her toys.

    While I wrestle with words, she attacks the window in hopes she will be able to get out and get the pesky squirrels.

    While I work on marketing my new book, she takes a nap.

    While I photograph dogs, she comes along as the prima dogga and shows the newbies how to pose and more importantly how to wrangle more treats from the stupid humans.

    While I stare blankly at the computer, she decides it is time for a walk and a hunt.

    What a job! Her only disappointment has been that she is not the cover of my book Salty Dogs, published by Wiley, although she is featured 12 times. I also think she harbors some resentment because I dedicated the book to my husband instead of her.

    Jean M Fogle
    author of Salty Dogs
    http://www.jeanmfogle.com

  15. I hear what you’re saying, but for me there’s no better job in the world, non-pros and all… ;)

  16. Kim Hillman says:

    Wow. That’s funny! I sold out my dream of being an actress to go into publishing! And you know what? I’ve got no regrets and I’ve never looked back. I guess I have the best of both worlds, really, because I’m a publisher first and a writer second. That means I get to write AND work with other people. It’s a great feeling and I consider myself lucky to wake up in the morning and go do something I love.

    Kim Hillman
    CEO of Up & At ‘Em Publications
    Author of "60 Ways To Make Fast Cash"
    and "119 Ideas To Save You Money Now"
    http://www.upandatempublications.com

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