Friday, July 27, 2012

How I Became Famous...So Far

august etc.
1. Before I became a blogging tycoon, famous humorist and clever police reporter, I employed a beginning writer's* trick: I wrote haiku. Actually, I wrote a lot of haiku, averaging about one a day for a year or so. I even joined the Haiku Society of America and read their magazine, Frogpond.

2. You think that I could make that up? Here's one of the later haikus:

some cups
seem empty
a long, long time;
still cups

3. It may come as no surprise to you that I soon discovered that making a living as a haiku-ist was going to be challenging. So, I began writing short, somewhat humorous essays. Blogs were just beginning to be big at the time, so I posted-published the essays, later adding pictures, and I've now posted over 400 of these. Here's an older one from September 2010:

4. While I was developing what turned out to be my "quirky" voice and style in the essays, and potential employers were finding all sorts of creative ways to ignore my entreaties, I still had some time on my hands; so, I made collages. Actually, I made lots of collages, over a hundred.

pool boy
In the beginning, at the suggestion of a very talented friend, I pasted, matted and framed pages from my illustrated notebooks, which I'd been keeping/making for years. They looked pretty good, so I began making some from scratch, using tear sheets from magazines and stuff I had lying around my office.

Some of the collages turned out to be four-panelled haiku-like stories, like August Etc. above, which now hangs in a friend's house in Maine

5. I sold some of the collages, had a small showing at a local wine shop, and a designer asked  me to make some for the newly-designed student center at one of the finest boarding schools in the land.  As far as I know, they are still there.

6. While I enjoyed this time as a visual artist, especially making things with my hands, once again it became clear to me that earning enough from collaging was nearly as hard as earning as a haiku-ist.

too small to fail
It was about this time that the editor of a very fine local newspaper published one of my style essays and actually paid for it. My career as a regular Life & Style columnist was born. Later, I added police reporting to my portfolio. Police language is a staccato form of storytelling. In fact, it closely resembles...haiku.

7. Recently, as some of you know, I've launched a new phase of my writing career with a long story in a large daily newspaper owned by an infamous media-billionaire. I've discovered that one way he stays a billionaire is that he takes a really, really long time to pay free-lance writers. Just when you think that check or direct deposit is in the mail or on the digital-wire, they come up with a new set of forms to fill out. This particular media mogul likes to rave against government waste and bureaucracy, and yet, he has created a byzantine accounting bureaucracy of his own. As far as I can tell, his paper has not yet hacked my phone. Caveat Scriptor.

Suffield Academy/Senior Room
I much prefer my regular editor's immediate payment system at her Little Paper That Could**.

8. My team (I acted as Managing Editor/Publisher) is about to submit a final version of a book called Manursing Island Club: The First Hundred Years to the designer and publisher for a private printing. We worked on it for over a year. It looks really good: strangely, almost as if a haiku-ist, collagist, essayist, humorist had a hand in its creation.

After that...another book about...dunno yet. I'll think of something.

*Technically, the author was not a beginner, having tried his hand at free-lance writing some years before. While many writers have used the haiku method to get started, the author wishes to thank Gail Sher for reminding him of this practice in her book, One Continuous Mistake.

** The Rye (NY) Record

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