Friday, September 03, 2004

Pink Novelette

A much-anticipated blast from my past landed in my mailbox today in the form of a pink novelette. Ten (or more) years ago at my first job, three co-workers of mine--T, L, and N--and I wrote this pink novelette, a collaborative effort. Not only was this a blatant misuse of company time, we wrote the whole thing on company-purchased pink phone message notepad paper that bore the rah-rah slogan “Take Pride in Your Work,” a slogan which became the title of the novelette. The irony was not lost on us.

Well, as fate would have it L found herself interviewing with T for a job a month or so ago and he wrested “Take Pride in Your Work,” back from her. She has been preserving it all these years in a ziplock baggie that she kept under her pillow alongside a machete (at least I imagine that might be where she kept it and how she protected it from burglars). She reluctantly brought in “Take Pride in Your Work” so that T could turn the whole thing into PDF files and give me and N copies. I know L didn’t want to do that, but T kind of had her over a barrel. Since she was interviewing for a job with him I’m sure she saw that denying his request would probably not work in her favor. After removing it from the baggie, she informed him that he could keep it for “a few days” but then she “needed” it back. She then proceeded to quote and perform lengthy passages from it right there in his cubicle. He became frightened.

I have been waiting eagerly for several weeks for my CD of the PDF files to arrive. For one thing, I remember thinking at the time that it was hee-lar-i-ous. But I also knew that it was very likely that I would now deem it a childish piece of crap.

I just finished reading the whole thing about an hour ago and my verdict is: It is brilliant! The original should be in a temperature- and humidity-controlled room in the Smithsonian, not moldering away in a baggie under L’s pillow. Seriously, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading it again. I do think it’s pretty damn funny, but there are probably only three other people who would agree with me on that. Maybe only two. L has gone through and corrected in green pencil the (few) spelling and factual errors I made. I’m sure she was tut-tutting and tsk-tsking at what a sloppy-ass writer I was every time she had to use that green pencil. Jeez.

One thing I regretfully have to note about “Take Pride in Your Work” is that my mind seems to have been much more nimble back then. I wrote each episode in a 20-minute burst of creativity and never went back to revise or rewrite. Plot, character, and voice were all intact in the first draft. Granted it’s fiction, which perhaps lends itself better to creativity, but still. I think I’ve got to accept that I had brain cells back then that are no longer in the land of the living. But don’t we all use just a minuscule fraction of our total number of brain cells? Aren’t there hordes of slacker brain cells lounging around doing nothing that can (somehow) be prodded into action? I must cling to that hope.

The question now is what to do with “Take Pride in Your Work”? I need to send a copy to N, but she has serious vision impairment and there is no way she is going to be able to decipher the sloppy handwriting of four different people (hers may be the worst) and, of course, the green-pencil corrections. So since N is still my good friend (L is not BTW), I am seriously thinking of creating an audio version of it for N and for T. I’d have to work on my acting skills (currently nil), but it sounds kind of fun. An easier option would be to just type it up in Word so that N could use software she has to magnify it to a point where she can read it. If I actually typed it up, I’d then be tempted to post it (or portions of it) on this blog--an exercise in vanity if ever there was one. But what are blogs anyway but virtual vanity presses for the masses?

Postscript: T did not offer L the job. Not the right fit apparently (draw your own conclusions). When he returned the original manuscript, she paged through each of the 127 pages to make sure none were missing or defaced. Wow. Take Pride in Something Else Already.


Post a Comment

<< Home