Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Face-Lift 101


Guess the Plot

10 Years, 20 Jobs, and $30,000 in Debt

1. Male prostitute Taylor Reed, released after a 10-year prison term, discovers his long lost daughter floundering under a $30,000 school loan. Determined to help her, he returns to his old profession but discovers he's impotent. Able to afford only a twenty-count bottle of Viagra, Taylor must pull out all the stops to earn $30,000 in 20 jobs.

2. A woman who hasn't held a steady job for ten years writes a book about her experiences and tries to convince a literary agent she's ready to stick with her new career, meet deadlines, and finally realize her vast potential.

3. Forty-year-old adjunct professor Maria Fibonacci longs for a steady job, a steady paycheck, and a steady man. Instead, the mathematical topologist finds herself head over heels and her pockets inside out, all because of her infatuation with the pyramid-scheming statistician Johnny Bayes.

4. When Apple's low-budget CEO-cloning project goes awry, the company is left with no choice but to bring in Wozniak to clean up the mess.

5. When Pamela Turlington finally leaves her husband Bubba and moves to Nashville to pursue her dream of a singing career, her bad marriage becomes the biggest hit in country music history!

6. Fictionalized account of Geraldo Rivera & Connie Chung's parallel slides from powerful news anchors to basic cable's where-are-they-now? file.


Original Version

Dear XX,

At twenty-nine years old, I’ve had over twenty jobs in the past ten years and yet, I haven’t had a savings account since I was frying bacon at Wendy’s when I was fifteen. [Coincidentally, Evil Editor got his first bacon job when he was fifteen, also at Wendy's--although in my case, we're talking about Wendy Wasserstein's basement.] I’m part of the slasher generation: people in our twenties and thirties who respond to the question, “What do you do?” with a slash in our title that separates what we really do for a living from what we want to do. At present, I’m a personal assistant/yoga teacher/comedian/writer. [Only four? Evil Editor is a blogging icon/forklift driver/makeup artist for mannequins/curling coach/harpsichord refurbisher.]

10 Years, 20 Jobs and $30,000 In Debt is a completed 75,000 word collection of humorous personal essays that would appeal to fans of Laurie Notaro, David Sedaris, and Susan Jane Gilman and to all twenty- to thirty-something souls [who've never heard of those three people, but] who have made a career out of changing careers in search of their dream. Or, in search of discovering what their dream might be, exactly.

Creative visualization works. I’ve read that over and over again in a pamphlet entitled, Creative Visualization Works!, and have been told that by mom, who gave me the pamphlet, so I know it’s true. [Evil Editor is testing your theory by visualizing Jessica Alba standing behind my chair at this very moment . . . hmph.] But sometimes (say, when you’re $30,000 in debt and are no further in your comedy career than when you started ten years ago), it doesn’t feel that way. I graduated college summa cum laude and immediately landed the ideal job, one my degree prepared me for, only to give it up a year later to pursue delivering sushi at three o’clock in the morning. I then landed a paid gig performing improvisational comedy regularly at a theater in Denver, only to give that up after two [shows?] to move to New York City to pursue performing comedy…for free. [Evil Editor knows the feeling. He's finally doing the job he was born for, and it turns out blogging pays about as well as eating and watching TV--my other talents.] My life path hasn’t been so much a path as a game of Twister, but I know that others of my generation will relate to the misadventure that unfolds with a life where you choose not to choose. (And I’m putting a picture of you, XX—my dream agent—choosing me into a pink bubble, and now I’m releasing that pink-bubble vision into the universe.) [So that if I don't find what I'm looking for here, maybe 3000 years from now I'll get a contract offer from a publisher on the fourth planet from Betelgeuse.] [Your dream agent is going to want you for more than one book. Maybe it's not such a good idea to trumpet the fact that your life path veers off in a new direction every six months.]

I have been writing and performing comedy in all styles for the past ten years. Most recently I performed my one-woman show, Bone-a-fide: A Tumorous Comedy, about my struggle with a rare bone cancer, at the acclaimed People’s Improv Theater in New York City. (You can still reply to me! I’m not going to die or anything! Just limp for a while.) I was also a winner of the Up All Night College Campus Comedy Tour, which aired on the USA Network. [So what do you mean, when you say you're no further along than you were ten years ago?]

Please let me know if you’re interested in reading my manuscript in part or in its entirety. I appreciate your time and consideration.

Sincerely,


Revised Version

Dear XX,

At twenty-nine years old, I’m part of the slasher generation: people in our twenties and thirties who respond to the question, “What do you do?” with a slash in our title that separates what we really do for a living from what we want to do. At present, I’m a personal assistant/yoga teacher/comedian/writer.

I graduated college summa cum laude and immediately landed the ideal job, one my degree prepared me for, only to give it up a year later to deliver sushi at three o’clock in the morning. I then landed a paid gig performing improv comedy at a theater in Denver, only to give that up and move to New York City. My life path has been like a game of Twister, and I know others of my generation will relate to the misadventures that unfold when you choose not to choose.

10 Years, 20 Jobs and $30,000 In Debt is a completed 75,000 word collection of humorous personal essays that would appeal to twenty- to thirty-something souls who have made a career out of changing careers in search of their dream.

Recently I performed my one-woman show, Bone-a-fide: A Tumorous Comedy, about my struggle with a rare bone cancer, at the People’s Improv Theater in New York City. (You can still reply to me! I’m not going to die! Just limp for a while.) I was also a winner of the Up All Night College Campus Comedy Tour, which aired on the USA Network.

Please let me know if you’re interested in reading my manuscript in part or in its entirety. I appreciate your time and consideration.

Sincerely,


Notes

Unless specifically told not to, be sure to include a sample essay or two with your query. This kind of book is tough to sell if you aren't famous, so show them it's worth a look. Better yet, get famous.

I don't know how much of the book is about the struggle with cancer, but a novel about a character based on yourself, with your comedic perspective, might be more appealing to the book-buying masses. And your one-woman show will provide some of the material.

Chapter 1. Your hilarious conversation with the boss who gave a young college grad her big break, as you explain you have a better offer from Sushi-To-Go.

Chapter 2. Your hilarious conversation with a Japanese guy who speaks no English, as you try to explain that he still owes you forty-three cents.

Chapter 3. The ominous first twinge in your leg as you're pretending to be a cowboy on a pogo stick in a game of Party Quirks at the Denver improv club.

Etc. etc. Just a thought.

14 comments:

aly said...

I'm a writer/artist/digital photographer/lounge singer/panflute player/toponymist/Evil Editor wannabe.

Poohba said...

I really, really wanted to read Book #4.

Anonymous said...

I think the author has a fatal disconnect with the real world. Nobody admires people who are "searching" or "following their dreams" or whatever. The more likely reaction would be disapproval of those who don't have the discipline or maturity to pick one field and stick with it rather than search for an elusive place in the world that for most doesn't exist.

Novelust said...

You're a slasher? Awesome!

Could I ask how explicit the male/male love scenes are in the book? Are they sexy without being trashy? It's a very fine line to walk.

But seriously, folks. Why do they put directions on cans of soup? And how about parking meters? What is WITH those things? Hey, what if the theme from Gilligan's Island was sung by the cast of 'Friends'? I think it might go something like this --

(My apologies to Tom Kenny and David Cross for stealing their bad comedian routines.)

...My advice would be that if you're going for funny, go for funny. I know that since this book is about you, you want all of you stuffed into this tiny little query letter - but that won't work. You just come off... squished. If this book is primarily funny, go back and take out what isn't. Don't just mention weird jobs - tell us what's funny about them. The sushi bit was a step in the right direction.

kis said...

I'm a mother/chinese food waitress/mother/indentured slave/wife/mother/writer. In that order.

I'm not sure this book will appeal to all 20-30 somethings. As soon as they find out the author doesn't live in her parent's basement, they'll decide they have nothing in common with her.

But I'm not finding myself in the same boat as parents these days. Soon as my kids turn sixteen (the age where social services stops bringing them back) I'm leaving their shit out on the sidewalk and changing the locks. Call it tough love. OK, just call it tough. ;)

Anonymous said...

To the minion that came up with #3 -- too cute! A statistician named Bayes and a mathematican named Fibonacci? :-)

Anonymous said...

kis gets it. kids are like boomarangs so you have to change the locks. -JTC

Zachary Gole said...

kids are like boomarangs so you have to change the locks.

Well, that depends on the family...I'm a 30-something who left home at 16 to start college, and whose mother has spent the last 10+ years unsuccessfully trying to convince me to to move back in with her...but my situation may not be the norm...

lea said...

For anonymous #1...

You are wrong in your statement that no one admires people who are "searching" or "following their dreams". I do admire people like that, and I know a number of people who agree with me. Disaproval usually comes from people who are jealous that they didn't do the same thing, and instead are stuck being bean counters for some conglomerate of a company that doesn't care one bit for their employees unless they advance the bottom line.

It's not lack of discipline or maturity, it's not fearing risk. And not fearing risk is what has lead me to follow my dreams and achieve so much more than lots of people my age. I quite like the concept of this book, and I think there are a lot of other people out there who will like it as well.

Anonymous said...

Oops! Guessed wrong on this one. The title had Country Music written all over it to me!

msjones said...

E2, you knew Wendy Wasserstein? Now I’m really impressed.

Gentle Slasher: Maybe you should try the Sedaris get-famous-overnight route, and submit one of your works to NPR. They’re broadcasting “this I believe” essays, and anyone can submit! One was about the all-encompassing virtue of barbequed meat, and it was quite moving. Why, when the author paraphrased Keats with the line “barbeque is truth, truth barbeque,” I nearly cried.

Anonymous said...

zachary, It is usually a good idea to go put on your sense of humor cap before visiting EE's blog and especially before reading the Evil Minion's posts. -JTC

Zachary Gole said...

Er...JTC, regarding putting on your sense of humor cap, you might try practicing what you preach. My reply was intended humorously, as an example of an odd reversal of the usual situation. I wasn't at all offended or upset by your first post in this comment thread. Now, your second post, on the other hand... ;)

garden minion said...

ee, you really ought to put some google ads on this baby. they CLAIM blogging can be quite profitable. and i'm sure we'd all be willing to ignore a few random words in the margin for the spectacular service you provide. ;) many thanks.