Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Great Pretender

I guess I’d been pretending to be a writer for the last decade or so—in some people’s eyes at least. It little mattered that I had been contracted by, and completed manuscripts, for royalty-paying, bona fide publishers. Nor did it matter—apparently—that the finished products turned up on the shelves of bookstore leviathans like Barnes & Noble. You see, I had chosen the hardscrabble life of a freelance writer, and not the blood, sweat, and toil of a real job—i.e., working for a corporate master who could, at the drop of a hat, toss me aside like an old shoe. Pardon the mixed metaphor....

But then a miracle came to pass. A third party intervened on my behalf and bestowed—at long last—the imprimatur of writer on my forehead. Via the handiwork of Harry Hurt III and the Old Gray Lady, otherwise known as the New York Times, a book of mine entitled No Job? No Prob! was reviewed in the paper. It appeared in the Sunday, November 18, 2008 edition’s business section. And while Mr. Hurt took a few swings at the book and its author—some of them justified, I concede—he nonetheless enthusiastically recommended the book to the jobless minions, which was more than I could have asked for, and certainly more than I ever expected.

Life is full of surprises. Unfortunately, in all too many circles, it’s also about status and trophies acquired along the way. This review brought me a round of plaudits from many folks who barely—or not at all—acknowledged my prior credits. I had, at long last, arrived as a writer after all these years in the wilderness. If the New York Times says so—by reviewing my book—then I must, in fact, be what I purport to be.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Harry Hurt III and the "Paper of Record" for including my book among “All the News that’s Fit to Print” for one brief shining moment at least. Who, in my line of work, wouldn’t kill for that? But, alas, although legitimized in some skeptical circles, in the bigger picture, that review and $2.50 will buy me a slice of pizza. These are tough times for the unemployed…and frazzled freelancers, too. 

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