this is just a journal for me while i try to get a book done
Well, something I wrote will be on paper. Not NMD stuff, but I had an actual freelance writing assignment back in um... August? I guess. Once I know it will actually appear on paper (in a book!) I'll write an essay about it.
Well, shit. I have no idea what happened to that month, but I sure as hell wasn't productive. I really didn't do a goddamn thing in relation to the book. Here I was, hoping to complete the manuscript and submit somewhere by my birthday (July), but that's more or less out the window. So, I'm shooting to just have the manuscript done by July, and submitting it somewhere maybe by August or so.
I made myself a little calendar, and assigned dates to particular pieces that need to be edited and rewritten (almost all of them, basically). It's pretty ambitious, and I doubt I'll manage to stick to it, although the last time I gave myself little deadlines I did pretty well. So, we'll see. The hard part is working here, at my desk, with the internet beckoning me. I wish I had a laptop so I could go work elsewhere, but I guess I'll just have to make myself cut back on the online time a bit.
Anyway, we'll try this again.
Went through the first year of the site, page by page last night. I'm up to 73 articles and "bits" (as I'm calling the smaller entries) that I think have some decent humor and might be able to be included. Obviously, most of them won't be, but I have a lot of reading and editing and stuff to do.
Man, I've really written a lot of stuff for this website. Shit.
I have 34 articles/essays/whatevers that I've pulled out so far and gone over (not edited so much, just made notes and kind of evaluated for humor). I'd say about 5 probably aren't even worth bothering with at all, and the rest I'm going to try to whip into shape. And I need to wade through the whole site from top to bottom, scrounge around for good stuff I've forgotten about.
Also had a thought about the layout of the book. Between the essays (and this is just an idea), I'd like to have little half-page or one page bits, stuff that I think is funny but doesn't really add up to a complete essay, like the "X0" update from a while back and small blurbs/asides/whatevers. I dunno.
Printed out about 10 temping essays and went to the cafe to read/edit them. It was fun, I haven't read most of them in a while, so I forgot a lot of the jokes. Made myself laugh a few times, and while everything needs a lot of work (mostly cutting sections), I feel pretty good about a lot of it. Looking forward to editing/rewriting them.
Okay. Step one, go through what I've written, and figure out what might be best for a book. Clean it up, make it funnier, put it in manuscript form*, and send it off.
Shooting for a book of humorous essays. There's a book called "Men My Mother Dated" by Brett Leveridge. Basically, essays, the first half are of a common theme (Men his mother dated) and the rest are just random topics. I like that idea, I've seen a few other books do it, so I'm thinking along the lines of the first half or third to be temping-themed essays, and the rest to be general humor, possibly in sections.
That's the plan. Zomp had a suggestion for a title, which I will use in the meantime, changing it later so he can't have any of my money if it gets published: "Not My Desk: My Career as a Temp and Other Disasters". I figure either half temping and half random, or possibly a temping section, a personal disasters section (prefont-pain, etc), and a random section (things like forked-up or the science essays).
*Something I'm very excited about is putting the footnotes back into the essays. Before I had a website, I had a lot of the essays just printed out on paper, and they had footnotes in them, which is a good humor device. They were always a lot of fun, my footnotes, so now I need to go back, find them, and stick them back in.
Now, a list of what I might want to include, with my notes before going back and editing them, which I'll do this weekend:
(Essays are going to be hard to pick out. A lot of them were written a while ago, and I've read them over a bazillion times, so they're not exactly fresh to me. Also, want to be careful that non-temps and even non-office people can relate to them).
Techs, Files, And Videotape: This is actually buried in the Field Guide, which I've been meaning to do something about, because it's a great story (videotaping a conference and accidentally getting "Happy Birthday" and other titles on the screen of the camcorder). I need to extract it and turn it into its own essay. Probably the funniest thing that's happened to me while temping.
E-Maul: This is one of my favorites, and I get mail about it more than most others.
This is Only a Test: I like this one a lot. Think I only got mail about it once, so maybe it's not as funny as it is to me. A little Dave Barryish, I guess.
The Hot Seat: Okay, it's got farting in it, so that's good. It's not a very smooth essay, because the first part is about the fart-noise and the second part is about the chair and it seems a little, I dunno, like I just took two separate occurrences from different days and crammed them together into the same essay (which I did, gasp!). Lose the Tony Danza shit, fer chrissakes.
Printer of My Discontent: Ehhh... probably leave this one out. It used to be part of a different essays, "Stinging in the Rain", I think. I'll have to check.
Of Rice and Men: I never thought this was particularly good, but a few people have told me it's their favorite. Used to include a lot more, I'll have to go over it a couple times, and see what's so damn funny about it.
ASAPee: Urine humor. One of the more recent essays, could probably use some punching up.
First Blood: I'd like to lead off with this one, as kind of an introduction to temping, since it was about the first time I've ever temped. Still, I wrote it so long ago and I've read it so many times, it's hard for me to see if it's any good. It switches jobs in the middle, which I don't like, but for an intro to temping, it's probably a good thing. I think it needs a lot of work. Bleh.
Going Down?: I like this one a lot. I think the idea of drinking from a water fountain for thirty-eight minutes while planning my next move is fucking funny. It degenerates into stinky bathroom humor towards the end, but hey, what doesn't these days.
For Whom the Bell Tolls: One of the earlier ones. Again, it switches jobs in the middle, kind of awkward that way.
Stinging in the Rain: Think this one is okay. Kinda wanders a lot.
A Man, A Plan, A Fan/Temps Through Time/Lame-o: Nah.
The Temp that Time Forgot: Damn. I love this one, it really made me laugh, but never got much of a response from people I showed it to initially. Probably won't include it (sniff). It's basically one joke, repeated over and over.
Extra: I had written something, somewhere, about making work more rewarding, spiking the fax machine after sending a fax, something like that. And also about how I never got any applause like performers do. Can probably combine/write up.
Prefont-Pain: I think it's amusing, but need to hack it down a bit. There's a lot of setup, but it's a good disaster essay.
The Cow Says Boo: Another really long set-up, but it makes a good story. And I'm realizing I don't really have that many personal disaster essays, should write some new ones.
A League of My Own: This one could be made better, I wrote it as an update so it was a little rushed. Could extend the disaster bit by including my own memories of Little League. Painful, shameful memories. And lots of them!
Yabba-Dabba-Doof: Needs work, eh, I dunno.
Drawn & Quarterless: I thought it was pretty funny, but didn't get any kind of response, so it probably isn't. Might take another stab at it, it was a bit of a rush job.
Yearbook Stuff: I took some things people wrote in my yearbook and used them on the site for a few days. I could see making this more of an actual essay, combined with specific memories of high school.
No Fuss, No Bus: This is REALLY long and I don't even think it's all that funny, since it was a goddamn nightmare. But people send mail about it, and say they laughed a lot. Will need to do some editing.
Forked Up: Always got a good response and I like it a lot. Probably needs to be tightened up.
Alas, Alack, Alarm: A good one to include.
Lacktion: Didn't turn out the way I really had hoped, but it got a pretty strong response from a lot of people who do similar things.
One Canyon, Grand & Backpacks and Switchbacks: Probably could be combined. Not sure if it's all that interesting, though.
Bad Bean: Coffee and it's effect on spiders. People seemed to enjoy it.
Special Relativity Don't Upset Us - This is a fun one I think would be great to include.
Inherit the Wedgie: Kinda rambly, could probably be tightened up a bit.
As the World Churns: Okay, it's not science, really. I wrote something the next day about sea sponges, which I need to include.
That's about all I can think of at the moment. Also, I'm not fooling myself. I know that a publisher would want mostly stuff that hasn't appeared online, so I'll need to write a ton of new stuff and not post it, which will be a little weird in a way. But nice. I'll be able to take my time with it.