The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, September 30, 2011

For $4.84, I'm a Door? A Bore? No, I'm a ____!

      Some day when I get a gig as a speaker at some conference, I'm going to use the shortened version of this title: I Was a $4.84 Prostitute ____. It says so little I would accept for my conscientious I was about my writing craft, despite the miniscule much a challenge could drive me...

     ("I want to do it, too. Tell me! Pleasepleaseplease!" Do you really want to be on an opposite street corner from me, wearing snagged-up fishnet stockings, thigh-high boots, a miniskirt and a bustier?  I think not. I'm not going to make it that easy for you by giving you the link so you can just click on it and then ruin yourself. It's interactmedia (dot) com. If you're determined to dive to the lower depths of hell, go for it.)

    Quite a while ago, a friend gave me the link to an online copywriting site. She had written an audition piece for them, got accepted, and filled up her evenings writing for them. Since the paypal paychecks came every two weeks, the realization did not come immediately: she was writing for less than a penny per word.
Two Prostitutes in Paris
painting by Di Ceglia

    When it dawned on her, she argued with me: "Surely it's a misprint. They must have put the decimal point in the wrong place.  Who would work for .7 cents a word?" When I utilized my rudimentary grasp of math to reason with her (after all, I only teach 3rd grade. If she wanted to know how many legs 6 spiders have, I could rattle that off easily. Decimal points are a little more difficult.), she ran off in a huff and hasn't written another thing for them.

    It was too late for me, however. I had already gotten sucked in.

    The reasons why I still write for them occasionally (but never for .7 cents a word anymore):

    1) Writerly pride. Each piece gets rated by an editor and the client.  The articles can get 1-5 stars or--shudder--they can get declined.

    2) The money. Granted, earning $12 or $14 while I sit and watch yet another evening of Mark Harmon on NCIS ("I've only seen this episode three times!") is not impressive. However, it's more than what I'd earn if I was sitting on the couch knitting while I drooled. (Some of the earliest pieces I did write for only .7 cents a word; the writing was worth more than $4.84, but I was just beginning, and the subject intrigued me.) 

   3) The challenge.  This is the primary hook for me, and a wonderful source of amusement for my husband lately.

     Because, you see, with each piece, you have to masquerade as an expert. About a myriad of topics. Some of the things I've written about:

  • ductwork
  • reimbursement specialists for medical practices
  • the SEER rating
  • top-rated hotel beds
  • industrial laser marking
  • dental veneers
  • oil boilers (this one really made my husband guffaw)
  • automated broadcast graphics (I cannot even say an intelligent word about this topic, but I wrote hundreds of knowledgeable words about it)
  • motocross racing in Idaho
  • laser tattoo removal
  • locum tenens
     So when I have not posted for a while...if I have not commented on your post for a while (and I'm having trouble commenting on some posts lately--I cannot comment with a google account, and cannot comment with a URL name, etc.)...perhaps I'm too busy writing about some subject I know nothing about as I pretend to know everything... 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Elephant Pants, Hip Huggers and Nehru Jackets

        I was recently thinking of one of my favorite outfits when was 11 or 12. I had a cousin who was a professional-level tailor, and she constructed a turquoise Nehru jacket and pair of pants for me. I loved it. Sadly, I could use a Nehru jacket again in my current state...It would hide my turkey neck.

photo by Wrightbrain
Nehru jackets--popular with the early Beatles, men from India, and weird girls like me...

       When I was 12, bell bottoms were not belled enough. I begged and pleaded until my mother would cut slits in the bottom, and sew in a large triangle of contrasting fabric to make them bell out. I needed so much room for clearance, I hired a truck with a sign warning "Wide Load" to travel behind me. And it wasn't because of my cellulite-ridden rear end (then).

       Often, the bell-bottoms were also hip-huggers. At 12 or 13, I had curves---breasts and hips--and something really strange which I've forgotten about: visible ribs.
photo by Tory RoJo
Yikes!  These are scary hip huggers. Sorry.

photo by sandriocat
Aaah. That's better. THESE are the hip-huggers I remember with such fondness...

        Linda O'Connell sent out an email with this link about the sixties. For those who are much younger than I am, you can see some of the groovy stuff that made our lives so rich. And if you remember that era well, this will just be a blast from the past...

          And perhaps you could comment on some of the crazy hair or clothes you remember--even if they were not from the 60's.