Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How To Get Published In Three Easy Steps

I think there are approximately two people in my real life who actually read my blog.  And that's when I send them the link directly.  Even then, it's 50/50 whether or not they read it.  Which is why I feel justified in writing this post.  None of my real lifers will have to hear about this, yet again, but I get to share my extremely exciting news to even more of the world.

 I was recently published, and PAID, for an article I wrote for Salt Lake's City Weekly.  Not only was I published, but my article made the cover and it was a full four page spread.  I was so ecstatic when I heard the news, I immediately shared on my personal Facebook page and Instagram.  Now that my excitement has died down a little, the reality of what this means has finally sunk in.

My Salt Lake City Weekly article can be found here!

And that reality is...I'm totes legit peeps.  I'm an official, freelance writer.  And as such, I feel it's imperative that I share my knowledge and talents with those of you who haven't been quite as fortunate as I.  And so, without further ado, I'd like to bestow upon you, you sad, struggling unpublished populace, the secret to publication in three easy steps.

  1.  Know your audience.  You really need to think about who is going to read your piece and why it would be of interest to them.  It helps if you include boobs. 
  2.  Persistence.  If the Editor doesn't return your attempts of solicitation, he'll appreciate follow up phone calls, e-mails, and especially if you show up at his office on Main Street downtown unannounced.  It will break up the monotony of his day and he'll be obligated to acknowledge your dogged determination.
  3.  Know your worth.  You work hard and you deserve to get paid hard.  Negotiate for a fair price and if they're not willing to pay, well, that's when you play hard ball.  In the form of slowly peeling a grape, shoving it up your nose, blowing peeled grape into your hand and offering said hand for a farewell shake. 
It should be clear at this point that I have no idea what in the living hell I'm talking about.  I submitted my article as part of an assignment for school and was as shocked as an electroconvulsive therapy patient when the editor actually contacted me saying he was interested in my article.  Then even MORE shocked to learn I was actually going to be paid for something I had such a blast doing.  It was amazing.  I want to do it again.  And Milo wants to know when I'm actually going to use the treadmill I bought with my earnings.  Silly dog.  Little does he know it's actually just an oversized bra hanger. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

She Said She Felt Special. I Think She Lied.

A couple of months ago I was at my parents house when my Mom brought up the fact that her birthday was fast approaching in April.  She stated that since she would be turning the big 65 she wanted a party.  This was significant for two reasons.

  1. She has never asked for anything birthday related in all the years of my life.
  2. I had no idea how old she was going to be this year.  That's what FB stalking is for.  Yes, this includes your own Mother.
  3. Birthdays just aren't a big deal in our family.  I texted my Brother a rotten e-card on his birthday in March.  Which is more than I did last year.  Which was nothing.  


A week or so later when I brought up the idea of a party in front of her and Dad, she was quick to change her little birthday-loving tune with a demure "Ohh no Doodle-Anne, (the super awesome name my parents have called me since childhood) I don't want a party".

To which I responded in a 165 decibel screech, "THE HELL YOU SAY, SIMPERING HARPY!  You want a party?  I'll GIVE you a DAMN PARTY!"

Just kidding.  Years ago I've found it's SOO much easier to go along with what people say, then do just as you'd planned to do all along.  It's a win/win.  That person thinks you totally see their point of view and agree 100%, and I get to do exactly as my little conniving heart desires. 

Anyhoo.  After lots of research and planning.  I decided to take a look at my budget.  After looking at my budget, my list of party must-haves suddenly had a lot of crossed off items.

So long pony rides.
Adios mariachi band.
Maybe next time portable photo-booth.
Peace out pinata.  

Wait.  No.  Eff that.  I'm keeping the mother-loving pinata dammit!

E1 offered up his pad for the venue.  His space is in a very industrial part of Salt Lake.  There's a lot of metal, exposed duct-work, a recording studio and a garage door that opens up into a graffiti decorated enclosed courtyard.  The geriatrics would be horrified.  I immediately booked it.

The day of the party, April 1st, was sunny, warm and basically perfect.  Until I left the house. 
I stopped by the bakery to pick up the specially ordered cake I'd paid for a week in advance.  The gal asks my name and searches the shelves.  She heads to the back.  She returns to the front.  She searches some more.  She asks if it could be under a different name.  Nope.  Just mine.  She starts digging through receipts and I offer to get mine out of the car.  She declines and continues to dig.  She finally tells me the cake was never made.
I stand there and stare at her in silence while mentally, a thousand angry words are hurled through the air and bounce off her forehead leaving little red dents.
She says they can make another one but it won't be the cake, filling, or decoration that was previously ordered.  A WEEK IN ADVANCE.  I tell her I'll be back in four hours to pick up the travesty.  

Between the cake fiasco, dropping the birthday banner and watching the wind tumble it through a few mud puddles and then looking on as the giant number 5 balloon unwraps itself from it's weight and floats off into oblivion, things were not going well. I wondered if my Mom would be okay with the single remaining number 6 balloon.  I mean really, what's a few years, give or take a few 60?

The guest list mostly consisted of members of her Mormon church.  As these sweet souls braved traveling out of their comfort zones, staying up past their curfews and risked getting lost in an area they've most likely never set eyes on, I'm touched by their dedication to honor my Mom by showing up to share in her celebration.

That's when I get a call from my Brother.  "Yeah, hey Dawn.  I'm trying to find the party and I'm in some weird alley.  There's like, a lot of metal all over the place.  I'm not getting out of the car".
Brave brave Brother of mine.

It was Dad's job to lure Mom there with some convoluted lie.  Eventually he knocks on the door.  I shoosh everyone and motion for them to gather around.  With my fingers, I count down from three.  At one, I fling the door open and everyone screams "SURPRIIIIIIISE" right in Dad's face.  I can practically see his hair blow back from his scalp.  He stands there with eyeballs wide and a stunned look on his face.  I'm not entirely sure why.  He knew what the plan was, and yet. 
It took about a second for my mind to register the fact that Mom, the birthday girl, was not present.  It's right about then that she pokes her little head around the corner to peer into the gloom where a second, less enthusiastic "Surpriise" is emitted from within.


The party turned out just fine.  My Mom danced.  My Dad put on a humorous slideshow (yes, a legit slideshow with a screen and slide projector and all) that had everyone laughing.  Everyone ate cake and didn't throw up.  (It was NOT good)  Mom beat the shit out of the cupcake shaped pinata and once it was down, proceeded to curb stomp it like she'd just watched American History X.  

All while Satan looked down with the dead eyes of approval.  Happy Birthday Mom.