If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere
(Fantasy Jeopardy sequence:)
Contestant 1: “Ah, I’ll take ‘English Literary Cities’ for five hundred Alex.”
Trebek: “Answer: The city where ‘If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.’ “
Contestant 1: “What is New York?”
Contestant 2: “What is L.A.?”
Trebek: “The question we were looking for lies a little bit further to the North, in my home country. The correct response is: ‘What is Montreal.’ “
Comedians face ‘tough crowds’. There’s the guy up front who won’t shut up or the lady who ‘boos’ every attempt at a joke. Now, I didn’t have people throwing tomatoes at me, but for a writer on the front lines, you could say I faced a pretty ‘tough crowd.’
I walked out of the Konica-Minolta copy centre with a handful of selected works compiled into a 24-page black and white stapled selection I optimistically viewed as a ‘book.’
My goal? Sell them for profit. Tonight.
If you’re a writer and you make it in New York, you’re going to make it everywhere. New York is the capital of the world, especially when it comes to English writing. Montreal on the other hand, is the world’s second largest Francophone city, hardly the place to start a career as an English writer.
I walked to the curb outside a ‘Chapters’ store downtown and began to hawk my wares. The fictional ‘Jeopardy!’ segment above did it’s best to warm my brain, but my toes had other plans. I quickly realized that I was in front of a ‘tough crowd.’
Strike one? The audience. If you stand outside a bookstore at 10pm on a Monday evening, your audience is made up of people being cleared out of the closing store. Anyone still inside a ‘Chapters’ at closing time views the store as “My personal library where I don’t need a membership card.” Trust me, I’ve done the same. These people do not buy books.
Strike two? It’s Montreal….that whole ‘French-official language’ thing.
Strike three? It’s minus 19 ° C
Despite facing probably the toughest book-buying crowd, and atmospheric conditions, in North America, I pulled it off. I sold self-published literature for profit. Now, I only moved a handful of books and got an even smaller handful of profit, but nonetheless, I was ‘up’ at the end of the night in more way than one.
Given the extreme cold, I probably could’ve increased profits by not writing anything in the fist place and simply gone without shaving or showering for a few months, wrapped myself in a blanket, and proceed to drool and mutter gibberish while sitting in the gutter with a plastic cup in my hand. Anyone seeing me in such a dire situation would surely lend a helping hand. But then I’d have to find a plastic cup, and a blanket. The right blanket. It’s just not my cup of tea, faking to be an incoherent transient.
But I can fake being a writer. That is my cup of tea. I think that’s all you need to do is write some stuff and then sell it. After you’ve made money, no matter how little, you just go around telling people “I’m a writer.” and that pretty much settles it.
So, I’m proud to say that as of Jan 24th, 2005, I’m a writer.
Hopefully over the last few years you’ve enjoyed getting the occasional story or random anecdote. Now comes your chance to enhance the experience:
I don’t plan on making a career as a curbside literature pusher. It’s probably the kind of thing that’s fun in small doses at best. Summertime doses. No, I’ve gotta find different avenues to publish my writing unless I’ve really struck a nerve with stories of delirious fictitious ‘Jeopardy!’ sequences, which I might have, people are unpredictable.
I’m going to make a run at this whole writing game: who knows?– a little luck, and a warmer climate, it might all just work out.
There’s only one way to find out.
These two smiling Aussies purchased the very first copy of Six Degrees of Bacon for thirteen cents. If you know who they are, let me know — it was too cold to chat.