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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

One Step Writeward, Three Steps Wrong

Since I mothballed the Eek!Cards series of between-post tidbits, there haven’t been quite as many updates around here. And with off the interwebs, my weekly article gig is kaput, too. Does that mean I’m writing less? Not exactly.

Does it mean the writing is going as swimmingly as usual? Oh, sure. Swimmingly.

One thing I’m doing is working on a couple of science fiction pieces. These are notable only for reminding me again of an old lesson: given a choice, it’s always easier to do the easy thing.

That’s hardly profound, i guess. But in this case, it’s pretty clear. One idea I’m working on is short, maybe four or five thousand words when it’s finished. The other, fully fleshed out, could be novel-length or close — maybe a couple of hundred thousand.

And progress? The short piece is half-done. The long one, I haven’t gotten through the first scene. Easy is easy, and hard for some other time. Like when I’m retired, maybe. Or have the money to hire a writing slave.

I’ve also been gently rooting around for another regular writing gig. I had a good lead, just after wrapped up shop. The guy who ran the site sent an email to the staff writers, saying that the head writer wrangler at another humor site would be glad to have us aboard. And here was his personal email address, if we’d like to follow up.

I did follow up, and sent a personal email to the head writer wrangler at that personal email address, saying that I’d be quite glad to be had aboard.

That was two months ago. I haven’t heard a peep. At this point, I’m guessing either the email address was a spoof — ZuG was a prank comedy site, after all — or the ZuG honcho was just too nice to add at the end of his email, “…would be glad to have any of you aboard. Well, any of you except that guy.

It’s okay. I’ve been that guy before. My parents considered making “Thatguy” my middle name. I’m used to it.

Then there was the educational outfit I touched base with a couple of weeks ago. They were looking for fun and creative ways to teach vocabulary words to high schoolers. Well. That’s right up my alley. I mean, if one can use rhyming mnemonics to learn grammar, why couldn’t one use a similar approach for teaching vocab lists? With, say, bawdy limericks? Like so:

There once was a fellow named Neil,

Who rear-ended a gal’s Oldsmobile;

Though he’d mangled her tire,

His panache lit a fire —

Now his lugnuts are screwed on her wheel.

Or so:

Old Tom never believed the old dictum;

He thought everyone had just tricked ‘im.

So Tom chose his friend Winger,

Then Tom pulled out a finger,

Reached right up his nose, and he picked ‘im!

These people never wrote back to me, either. Obviously.

Finally, this week I looked into another gig writing articles for a humor site launching soon. I sent some links to things I’d previously written, and they didn’t run away bleaching their eyes in terror. They asked me to pitch an idea for a writing sample in the format they like, and they didn’t shut down their email address and try to have my internet cut off when I responded. In fact, they told me to write that sample, and they’d take a look at it today and get back to me.

Or throw the article down a pit, burn our correspondence and pretend they’re suffering from permanent amnesia, should I ever pass one of them on the street. Which is roughly what I expected.

Instead, they got back to me, said they really liked the article, and signed me up as a new contributor. So it looks like I might have a new gig, after all — and if it works out, I’ll surely be hawking links to those articles here. Stay tuned for that bunch of goodness, and do try not to hold your breath in the meantime. I can’t afford to lose any of the one-and-a-half readers I have.

So — a solid win on that last thing, right?

Well… almost. Everything was great about that last email confirmation and the invitation to join the freelance writing pool. Everything except the very beginning, which read:

Dear Chris,

Now, probably one of two things happened. Either the guy writing the email sent out a bunch of these in succession and forgot to change the salutation, or he just spaced on my name after reading a bunch of article pitches and typed the wrong thing. But there’s also the chance he got the addresses mixed up, and the email was actually supposed to go to somebody named Chris. And not me. Which would be sort of a problem.

Because I would totally have to answer to “Chris” from now on. At least in emails, from this one place, and in the bylines of any articles I send in. And I thought Zolton was a pain in the ass to remember.

Does it ever end, the madness? All signs point to no.

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