The Michael McGrath Holiday Newsletter
by Michael McGrath
Happy Holidays to family, friends, Missed Connections and temp agency administrators.
Tis the season for expiring unemployment benefits and fundraising emails from journals that rejected your work all year, but don’t worry, the exposurelance writer is a resilient beast (you’ll never work for free in this town again!) and I’ve got plenty of irons in the ash pile.
It was another great year for Masters of the Universe and the benefit concert industry. Still, 2013 was not without its disappointments. The following so-called “Get Rich Quick Schemes” fell flat: a Tumblr dedicated to movie theater carpets, self-published “creature erotica,” “Mike & Molly” fan-fic and an Oral History of a Well-documented Celebrity Gaffe, menial labor, Mega Millions, literary busking, ghost writing, day-trading, power-washing, paywalls and NYBR personal ads.
Many moves were considered. Move to Los Angeles! Move to New York! Move to the Fracking Belt! Bogota, Berlin, Detroit (what is this, a Pitbull verse?), Providence, either Portland. Move back home (again) into a partially refurbished chicken coop, apply to Aldi’s (again), dust off The Great American Cover Letter, distribute an abridged resume pruned of degrees among the sprawl, maybe sell drugs or open a black hat social media dojo.
Yes, a life of crime and spam looked better than ever as the machinations of late-capitalism drove us ever deeper into the crags of a blasted post-Recovery Hellscape. Touchy billionaires and corporate overlords organized food drives for their own employees. HR memos encouraged slow chewing to stretch household budgets. Benefits include: free uniform! Benefits include: complimentary productivity-assurance chip implantation! Pay based on experience (no experience necessary). In an effort to scale back my professional goals to reflect the “new Millenium economy,” all I ask is to one day be famous enough to open a successful book store. I’ve always said, it’s too bad sheiks and dictators are into shitty dance pop instead of experimental fiction or independent publishing.
I’ve been so busy with the day-to-day drudgery of the un(der)employed — closing two-figure deals, applying for reduced application fees — that unfortunately a few personal relationships fell by the wayside. For instance, the other day I realized I haven’t heard from my Made coach in like six years.
It’s almost like all these admissions boards, HR reps, landlords, editors, agents, bouncers, loan officers and ATM screens are trying to tell me something. Who knows. Here’s to another year of crying over onion rings, howling into the void, nursing load-bearing delusions, printing out resumes at the library, emailing Central American language institutes and entertaining fantasies of adopting a wealthy baby.