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With A Little Help From My Friends
by Ian Birnbaum
It seems like everything is all happening at once around here.
As I'm trying to ready more stories to head away to the great beyond, I have received word that a bit of my journalism has caught the attention of the Dallas Morning News, the major daily newspaper for the North Central Texas area. They now wish to photocopy my words thousands of times before hitting me in the crotch with a briefcase full of money and running away giggling. The methods and traditions of the publishing business continue to perplex me.
Understandably, this sudden thrust of professionalism has come as a bit of a shock, and I've spent most of the weekend making sure I'm not going to embarrass myself in front of the readership of the 10th-largest newspaper in the country. In light of this new deadline, coupled with a quickly-approaching end of a semester and the several papers and tests that come with it, I've decided that sleeping is for the weak and that I can function perfectly well by main-lining those little 5-hour Energy Shots. *twitch*
So I've been thinking a lot about the importance of support lately. Quite frankly, I think that, after talent and dedication, a supportive group around you can make or break a beginning writer. Sure, you might eventually write the Great American Novel in an effort to get back at them. However, given the current state of the publishing industry, going nuts with a shotgun and a club would be a much more efficient method of revenge.
My support system, rather unoriginally, consists of my family and friends. My parents still ask me to mail them copies of everything (which I'm sure are stored in an underground bunker in case someone dares claim that I don't actually exist), and my best friend honestly sounds more excited than I am about my latest progresses. But, importantly, my girlfriend is my main support. I don't think any of us could do the things we do without a significant other who cheers us on.
More than just cheers, though, my girl is a really critical part of The Plan. You know, The Plan for the next few years - and beyond. Like most things, it's simple economics. For example: say I was to come home tomorrow and slam out 10 articles for various venues, then mail them away with a 100% chance of getting them published (that won't happen, by the way). Sounds successful, right? Given that level of writing succes, I would probably starve to death. You see, those manuscripts, brilliant and money-making though they are, will not get me a single dime for a period of 2 months to a year. I may earn $30,000 in a year freelancing, but it will be $5,000 in June, $700 in July, $2,000 in August, etc. And that kind of thing just can't pay the grocery bills.
So here's to my girl! *raises beer* If she leaves me, I'll almost certainly die!
Tell me: Who is your support system? Did you ever have someone who didn't believe in you?
Ian is just discovering the wonders of a jock strap