The Never Ending Journey
Apparently this newsletter actually has an audience because a ton of people asked me where it was Monday morning. And by a ton of people, I mean four. That means each of those people weighs exactly 500 pounds. Or 226.79 kilograms if you only get jokes in metric.
The delay, like everything else in my life, was not my fault. I spent Sunday in Chicago shooting an ad for a company that I can only assume hired me by accident. If they had actually seen my previous video work, they would have moved on to someone more qualified to speak on camera, like a mime. But they made the offer, and I gladly accepted, mainly because it was an ironclad excuse to leave the house in the midst of potty training. While I was gone, Lola cleaned up what she described as the Poopocalypse. She almost had to burn down the house. That ad shoot spared me death by toddler turds. I probably should have been the one paying them.
I’m always amazed when I do a video with actual professionals rather than in front of a webcam by myself, possibly under the judgmental eyes of a pig. The set was full of sound, light, and camera experts, each of whom mastered their own specialized craft through years of painstaking work. Then there was me, whose only job was to open my mouth and read something someone else wrote. That’s a skill I more or less had down by the age of seven, and I haven’t bothered to improve on it since. I’m not a big fan of personal growth.
Still, the production company seemed to think they needed me. I asked one of the staff members what would have happened if I hadn’t made it to the set that day, and they said they didn’t have a plan B. I basically could have ruined the entire shoot by not showing up. Instead, I ruined the shoot by showing up, but they could still save it in post. Maybe they’ll replace me with a CGI dog or something.
But none of that explains why I couldn’t write my newsletter Sunday night. The video shoot finished around 8 p.m. Eastern Time, and I had about a three-hour drive home. That would have given me just enough time to fire off an email to the four people who care before catching twenty minutes of sleep and then being woken up at the crack of dawn by whichever child hates me the most. But that plan assumed Indiana has a functional system of roads. Apparently it does not.
I have a basic understanding of how roads are supposed to work. You drive down them to get from one place to another. But another, sizable portion of drivers in this state view roads as conditional parking lots where it’s okay to halt for any reason whatsoever. Interstate traffic came to a dead stop in the middle of nowhere, which is an accurate description of pretty much everywhere in Indiana. Except the state borders, which are the edge of nowhere. By the time I realized what was going on, I was a hundred feet past the last place where I could have made an illegal U-turn, and there was a wire barrier preventing me from driving through the median. I pondered trying it anyway, but I was afraid I would total my car. Not that it would have mattered. It would have been faster to walk.
After sixty thrilling minutes where I progressed no further than a mile, traffic inexplicably started to move. There was no car accident, no construction, and no flashing lights. As far as I can tell, the five hundred drivers in front of me collectively decided to park on the Interstate just for the hell of it, then an hour later unanimously changed their minds. I was prepared to drive past some horrific wreck to put my own inconvenience in perspective, but the only tragedy that night was my own wasted time. Maybe I’ll write a book about it someday. Or just a really long newsletter.
At least that would be my last problem on the drive home.
Just kidding. Fifty miles down the road, traffic again ground to a halt. At least this time, there was a reason: A brilliant overnight road crew cut down traffic to one lane because, seriously, who drives anywhere at midnight on a Sunday night? Well, me. Also, about a thousand drivers around me. I sat in traffic for another hour, going absolutely nowhere, and my three-hour trip ended up taking more than five. Still, it was better than staying home and dealing with the Poopocalypse. Suffering is relative.
Some of you might have heard that I just landed a new two-book deal. You might have heard that because I told you. Modesty might be a virtue, but it’s not a great way to sell books. The road to hell is paved with bestseller lists.
These books will for be a younger crowd. They might not be aimed at you, but surely they’ll entertain someone you know, assuming you know any children or adults who act like children. Actually, that second category probably covers all of us. Reserve ten copies today.
For those of you keeping track at home, that makes four books that I’ve either finished or have under contract. At this point, I’m almost a real author. To make the full transition, I just need to start dispensing unsolicited writing advice to other aspiring authors. Let’s start with this: Don’t. There are at least a million easier ways to make money, so don’t go down this road unless you love to write and hate yourself. Happy writer is an oxymoron.
The books covered by the latest deal are separate from the middle grade adventure book I mentioned a few weeks ago. That one is still being shopped around, which either means it wasn’t very good or its just taking publishers awhile to write all those zeros on a check. That number might also start with zero.
At least my 8-year-old loved that book. I managed to win over the one and only child to hear it, so I’m batting 100 percent. Maybe I should quit while I’m ahead.
Celebrate Like the Elderly
To celebrate the two-book deal, my wife and I went out and hit the bars. That’s right: We went to bars, plural, as in exactly two. We had grand plans to go to more, but we ran out of time and energy. We honestly didn’t have that many drinks, and one of us still ended up back at home asleep on the dining room floor. To be fair, that might not have been alcohol-related. It was just a long week with the kids.
Luckily, my mom swooped in Friday and took all four daughters overnight. The next morning, she took took them to the zoo. Not to live there, although they would have fit right in. They would have been the alphas in the baboon exhibit in no time.
While there, I told Lucy about my first time at the zoo, long before she was born, when I saw a monkey escape. To Lucy, past, present, and future are one in the same, so now she tells everyone she saw that monkey, too. It’s only fair. I take her stories all the time, so she stole one of mine. If she steals fifteen thousand more, we’ll be even.
Against my better judgement and the advice of my attorneys, I’m still trying to teach myself to draw in the most public and humiliating way possible. Thank you all for your kind remarks about how I’m getting better, but your compliments are misguided. I assure you there has been no progress yet. This is a years-long effort in self flagellation, not an 80s movie montage where I go from “guy who can’t hold a pencil” to “Michelangelo” in two minutes flat. If you want to see me tear myself down as I show nearly imperceptible improvements over a series of years, by all means check out my new YouTube channel. And if you don’t want to see that, check it out anyway because I could use the views.
Catch you next week.
Copyright © 2018 James Breakwell, All rights reserved.
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