I have been in a “What the fuck IS IT, EXACTLY, that you want me to write for you?” back-and-forth with the main chick who runs a huge conglomerate of humor sites, for a few weeks now.
The back and forth emails between us always begin with a profoundly surprised and apologetic, “Did I drop the ball or did you???” and ends with neither of us getting at all upset about anything, because we TYPE IN ALL CAPS AND SHIT. So we just go back to the beginning “initial contact” demeanor — complete with re-introductions and general getting-to-know-you greetings. Again.
I like her. You know, she’s probably writing on her personal blog (I don’t know if she has one), right now:
I’ve had it with these flaky-ass wannabe contributors. Got this one, goes by the name Sheri 49. WTF kinda name? Anyway, she emails me and says we were talking about something or other, and I have no idea what she means but I play along because, internet stranger danger and all. I try not to feed the trolls.
She may be reading this now, too, so everyone please behave. I would really like to get the job. They would pay me something. She says “not much,” but it’s the idea of being paid for whatever the fuck this is that I write that appeals to my inner grabby-hands serial-killer anyway, to be honest.
I think this woman may be near my age and thus she is equally as forgetful. The two of us will probably just do this back and forth “query and response” thing a few years, ‘til one of us succumbs to death. Which brings me to my next point.
Someone, at my funeral, please, say this: “… AND IN CONCLUSION … it was a life well-lived. She answered all emails. Tried to write things. Talked a great deal about writing something, in fact. We will miss not knowing what it was that she would have written.”
(Sorry about the ampersand non sequitur, but I’ve had that thing on my hard drive for a year or two, thinking “I gotta use this somewhere.” So here it is. Maybe I will put it in posts, just randomly, here and there, with no explanation after today. Someone will eventually write about it somewhere. “That blog that had that ampersand showing up in random posts. WTF?”)
Back to the funeral. Someone should break down and pound the ground with their fists repeatedly while screaming, “IT WAS A LEAGUE GAME. THERE WERE RULES.” Grief-stricken and all. But then look accusingly at the other two attendees. A long accusing stare.
Oh. Must tell you of still more Important News. I was just emailing with a “friend” — seriously??? — and he says I need to “document the Rebeccas of the world” for you few who seem to enjoy reading that sort of thing. The question I had posed, earlier in our fourteen-year-long correspondence, was, “Well what the fuck IS it that I write, exactly?”
I’m always asking people that. No one has an answer. Even the publishing-empire woman I’ve been emailing with, the one mentioned above? She isn’t helping me figure it out. Keeps asking me what I want to write. I think that is at the root of our contorted efforts at communication. That, and the all caps distracts us, but WHO ARE WE HURTING, NO ONE THAT’S WHO.
Me: [deep in existential quicksand] What is it I write? I honestly don’t know what I can write for you. For your readers.
Woman: DID I DROP THE BALL? OR DID YOU?
Me: I forget. HA! HA!
Woman: Were you giving me a list? Was I giving you one? A list? HA! HA!
Me: A list of what I write! HA!
Woman: Good talking to you, HAVE A FUCKING GOOD WEEK!
Me: You too! Same thing, NEXT FUCKING WEEK! WITH MORE CAPS!
Woman: YES! MORE FUCKING CAPS!
I’ve been asking everyone I run into to explain, if they can, WHAT is it that I write, exactly? How would you describe whatever this is that I write? If you had to put it into a single Pulitzer category, I mean.
Is there a non-fiction genre called “Faux Outrage”? For that matter, is there a category on Amazon for crappy cheap e-books full of whatever it is that I write? Because once we know the answer to that, then we will know my MILIEU. Please note that I have now clumsily worked in the word “milieu” and used that ampersand in one post.
So, to sum up. I write. There’s lots of confusion. And repetition or, as I like to call it, emphasis on oft-overlooked nuance. Here’s my internal dialogue as I struggle to think up something to write here, or anywhere:
Sheri 49: I know. Got it. I can do an … exposé of some sort. Investigative reporting. I really was a reporter, you know.
Sheri 50: You covered a chili cook-off.
Yes, it’s short like that. I save most of my words for email.