20. June 2011 here now 1
I am in Marina Del Rey because I have spent money on a workshop about pitching freelance ideas. (That’s not the problem. That’s fine, in theory.) Backstory: I was once a journalist. Hones to G-d. People paid me enough to live, if not always to eat, to write down words about real things. For seven years. So, I figure I’m writing nonfiction, here, on this bloggedy blog, I should, like, you know, get back into the business of selling nonfiction, to you know, like, magazines, stuff, because I need money, and this workshop is about pitching your voice, and it seems like, existentially, even if I get kicked out, I will never leave graduate school, so…. why not? OK. So. I drive out to the west side to beat traffic, and I find a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, because I still have a plastic gift card that works only at Coffee Bean. But the Coffee Bean is next to a Barnes & Noble, so I go in there — to do research. I wander past all the Nooks and Nook accessories (this is like the subprime derivatives market of reading. In a time when books seem increasingly doomed and marginalized, they are trying to make money off of new reading technologies). I start to browse the magazine racks. Research to a writer is like being hungry. It is a state where everything but everything seems worth trying. So, I buy a bunch of research material because it somehow relates to wildly unformed “essay ideas” that I am bringing to this “pitch workshop.” A fine idea if what I had bought were, say, a magazine I might actually pitch an idea to, or maybe Writer’s Market. But instead, this happened: Girl at B&N register: Oh, cool, are you a poet? Me (with sudden embarassment and confusion): A poet? Oh, yeah, I guess, there’s some poetry here. I mean, I guess I’m a writer, but this -– Girl at B&N register: Oh, I love your wallet. And your necklace. Cool. Me (as I realize that this poor soul works at a bookstore, and therefore wants to write, and thinks I’m some kind of financially solvent poet): Fnrrrb. Workshop: $65 Money saved by going to CBTL instead of other shop where I have no card: $1.95 Money blown in neighboring B&N on poetry and shit: $50 Money I have actually made freelance writing this year: $0 Blog post: motherfucking priceless, yo.