Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Working

It's hard to peddle words when that's all you've got in the truck. If you're also selling frying pans or lingerie or rubber bands, well then, that's different, something tangible, and if needed, a definite requirement.

But when you sell words and only words -- everyone already has words. Everybody uses them every day. And though you may come up with a mighty good string of words, compelling or poetic, the customer just might squint an eye, take your measure, and figure -- "You think I was born yesterday? I've heard every one of those words before, said each one here and there, from time to time. And it's never cost me a dime. So don't fuck with me."

22 comments:

  1. I admire word peddlers enormously. You're one of the best.

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  2. Oh my, that sounded a tad bitter, didn't it. I actually have a funny story that goes with this. Ok, it wasn't funny last night, but it has me grinning ruefully this morning. Tell you later.

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  3. You could fuck with them with words. You are a cunning linguist.

    I'm a word peddler, too, and it's an apt phrase. At times we feel admired like the others said (because you are one of the best and you are admirable). And at times our clothes are worn and we have to sell some kind of hack work, not even to buy new but to get some patches for the elbows of our sleeves.

    I try to keep my complaining to a minimum because I love the work. It's said that, regarding the money he made from the studios, Stanley Kubrick once said, "Thank god they don't know I'd do this for free."

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  4. Well, all I'll say is selling words is tough, but trying to peddle both frying pans or lingerie together might be even more of a challenge.

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  5. Yeah, I can just see the cart vendor in 1900 trying to peddle frying pans and unmentionables at the same time. Word peddling might just be easier. But I'm looking forward to the story that became funny the morning after.

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  6. You know what I'm thinking. We've talked about this. The internet makes it possible for everyone to write and publish. No longer does the publishing industry restrict the writer's access to the public. This is good and bad. The reader is inundated and it's hard to know what's good until you read it. Indie publishers lower their prices so readers will take a chance, which lowers everyone's prices.

    I don't think this inundation will last forever. Amateurs will learn that they can't make a living at it, or even grocery money. It's tough enough for the pros to do that. The question is, can we hang in there long enough for the tidal wave to pass?

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  8. Aw, come on Birdman and Marjie -- lingerie and fying pans? There's nothing easier to sell than food and sex. And I will tell the story, in general terms, tomorrow, without outing anyone. Because I never out anyone who hires me, even if the job doesn't go as planned.

    P, it's harder when relatives (not mine) get involved.

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  9. By the way, thank you for nice words of your own -- Carolynn, Earl, Terri, and P. Did it help? You betcha.

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  10. It's true about the relatives. And you're welcome, glad it helped.

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  11. Count me among those who admire your writing, and learn from it. As for the Philistines . . . well, that's the standard, isn't it? No one ever went broke . . . you know the rest. Keep going, as we all must.

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  12. Somewhere in my closet, I've got a t-shirt for you that a friend gave me. Cunning Linguist DOES suit you quite well. As it was once said "fuck 'em if they can't take a joke" and often clients think they are paying vast sums of money, but are actually paying a pittance for your ability to put those words together coherently.

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  13. You find that T-shirt and I'll wear it, but inside out. You know, maybe I should price on a sliding scale. Top of the mark: $60/hour for witty and coherent; Bottom rung: $10/hour for outright plagiarism and drunken babble.

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  14. I hear that from editors, too. That's when I threaten with big words!

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  15. I like this a lot, although I admit I'm not paying for it.

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  16. I was a word peddler too, but now I am retired.
    I am writing short stories and I hope to publish the book...
    I agree with your friends, you're one of the best, Karin!

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  17. Witty and coherent -- and too true!

    But don't stop writing....

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  18. I read your words, however you string them together and whatever the topic, because they are magic with story and meaning. You make it look easy but your insight and diligence = hard work.

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  19. You're all very kind. Don't give me too much credit -- no telling where I'll spend it.

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  20. After all the free samples I've had, I'd gladly pay money for your words...

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