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The Craigslisters

24 Feb

Tell me, have you browsed or posted ads at craigslist.com?

Have you randomly clicked on sections out of sheer curiosity slash boredom?

Have you ever, in a desperate attempt to obtain legal finances, responded to one of those “GIGS” in the “GIGS” section usually tucked way at the bottom of the front page of your town? Has anyone ever responded back to you?

Let me inform you, Friends, it can be creepy.

I mean, there are people who post these wonderful sounding ads that sound so legitimate and so timely when you’re in need of “$100 this weekend!” or an “easy job; just talk to people and pass out fliers Sat & Sun” or “just drive my kids to and from practice for a week.”

I won’t even delve into the sheer freakiness of the “romance” seekers. (Honestly, I clicked on it once doing some P.I.–ahem–work.) And though I didn’t run into a congressman or a soon killer, I was horrified. I suddenly found myself wanting to go to a church and pray.

There was a time when I never went on craigslist. Never. I lived a Washington Post life, a community newspaper life. I obtained jobs through real companies with real employees and when I had a raggedy sofa to sell I did so with posterboard strategically stapled on random telephone poles near my current residence.

NOW? Now I find my posture withering before those freakola ads on Craig’s List, the creepy, predominantly weirdo central where it seems every other person needs/wants a “female massage TONIGHT” with “no strings attached” or some lady who lives in an “upscale” community doesn’t mind a stranger showing up at her doorstep to drive her kids to soccer practice “for a week only.” Perusing craigslist can be like entering a dark underworld of virtual strangers who may or may not be involved in a cold case file. I have no doubt that there is recently poured concrete in many of these folks’ back yards.  Responding to information on craigslist is like taking your shirt off in one of those undoored fitting rooms with a bunch of random eyeballs eyeing your usually covered skin. Sending your resume and e-mail address in response to an ad can be like welcoming ten years of spam from concocted companies promising to make your schlong larger even when you clearly don’t have a schlong especially when your e-mail address is something like NancyGirl @ e-mail . com.

Me no likey random weirdoes. Sure, I can appreciate controlled weirdness–people I know, people I can see face to face on a crowded street in Georgetown during daylight but un-faced posters are starting to creep me out.

Sure, I know. I know ions of people have success on craigslist and the likes. I get it. But I’m not talking about the smoothies; I’m talking about the darkness. I’m like the evening news. Hunky dory stories aren’t what freaks us out. The headline is in the underbelly.

I miss the ’80’s.

“Rejection” Letters & Other Doldrums

28 May

So I wrote a book about the working life, particularly in corporate America, in 2007 and I pulled it out and re-edited it for the umpteenth time this past winter while snowed in and I sent another round of query letters out to literary agents. Within days I started receiving the dreaded rejection letters…

Sorry, but this doesn’t sound like something I would represent at this time. Keep trying!

We regret to inform you that we are only receiving submissions from published authors at this time.

Our agency is currently saddled with current authors.

Etc. etc.

But get this: I know the book is delicious. I do. And no, I’m not one of those writers who merely thinks that they’re a good writer. I mean, for crying out loud, I’ve won awards for my writing since the ’80’s when I was a teenager. I was always the student that the teacher would read work from. I was placed in an advanced writing class. I was writing manuscripts in class while my classmates would fight over whose turn it was to read the next installment during biology class. So I know I’m not fooling myself. (And I don’t usually toot my own horn.) People say find what you love to do and you’ll never “work” again. Well, I’M TRYING OVER HERE. 

Seriously, this is how people end up stuck in cubicles for decades.

I saw an interview with the author of the bestselling book The Help and she initially received, like, 50+ rejection letters. Not to mention the Chicken Soup for the Soul series that received, like, 1,000 rejections. There are gobs of stories like this. But dang, I’m two seconds away from stalking literary agents on the streets of NY. I’ll wear a flower in my hair so they’ll know I’m just a harmless writer desperate for a reading.

The thing about query letters is it’s your one shot.  If  the agents don’t get goose bumps from your query letter, you’re fried eggs. If I rewrite my query one more time I just may plotz. Self-publishing I’m just not interested in at this juncture for several strategic reasons.

The one good thing about writing is you can do it as you grow older. It has nothing to do with your looks, your weight, your location or your age.  I can be 80 still churning out books. Hey, don’t laugh…Maya Angelou does it.

I press on.