Monday, May 14, 2012

For the Fat Lady

A year ago today I clicked a button and posted my first story online.

So I guess you could say "The Freelance Retort" came into this world on May 14th, 20011 at 12:04 PM, which I only know because it says so on the bottom of the page, not because I’m one of those weird savants who remembers everything that ever happened to them.  

And 177 posts later…here I am…still.


But there’s no one more surprised than me.

I hadn’t intended to start a blog…it just happened.

I mean I’d thought about it for years.

And a lot of people suggested it would be a good thing for me to do, way back when I didn’t even know what blog meant.

They thought it might help reduce the number of vagrancy summonses I received in a month.

And they were right…I’m down to just 6.

I’d been thinking of doing something like this for a while and was finally spurred into action by the revelation that the world’s end was due, last May 21st.

I figured if that were the case then I really wouldn’t have to write more than a few pieces, so what the heck. But, as luck would have it, the whole thing was now…here I sit...still writing.

My first post, “May21st—The End of Days! What Happens to the Nights?” actually came to light as an extended text message to a friend who had been the sole recipient of my insanity for years…much to her dismay and repeated attempts to change her e-mail address and phone number.

Since she hadn't called the police this time—at least not right away—I thought maybe I was on to something, so I turned it into a blog.

In case you don’t know, “Blog” comes from “Web Log”, one of the many new terms and phrases born of the Internet age.


Personally, I’m not all that crazy about the word. It’s got a second class citizenship thing about it. As if it’s not real writing; just something cranked out by some nobody, with a computer, with not much else to do other than type up their idle thoughts and insipid ideas and insights on things transpiring in the world and their day to day middling lives. It also comes with the naive presumption that any of it matters and that somehow it will find its way into the lives of others who will somehow be inspired to cure cancer…or at least take a walk on a nice afternoon. 

As if anybody cared…..

As if anybody noticed….

But yeah…I guess that’s kind of all true.

In any case, it is what you make of it.

And like I said, I’ve made about 177 stories out of it, or approximately 123,900 words, the size of 2 short novels or one big one.

But who’s counting…other than me apparently.

Not a big deal, really.

There are a lot of people out there who have been doing this for years…some even every day.

Although I've heard they’ve made great strides in treating that particular affliction with electroshock therapy.

I tried the every day thing for a while; when I was still finding my way, back in June. 

But that didn't work least for me...or anyone who knew me.

At the time I was still trying to figure out why I was doing this, and to what end I was doing this. So one day I was looking around to see who else was doing it.  And lo and behold, I stumbled across another blogger named Terry Marotta, who a lot of you know and read. 

In case you don’t know, she’s actually more than just a blogger. She’s a legitimate, award winning, syndicated columnist who’s read all across the country by A LOT of people.

She’s also one of the electroshock therapy candidates, which hopefully she’ll disdain so we can all continue to read her every day on “Exit Only”.

Anyway, I contacted Ms. M one day, when I was on the verge of chucking the whole thing, and she actually answered me with the response to just write every day and see what happens. She then told me politely that she would check out my blog and we would be friends to the end.

And surprisingly, nearly a year later, we’re well on our way to being just that…even though I’ve never actually met her.

You know...because of the restraining order....

I’ve never mentioned her or thanked her before on this thing but I thought this was a good time to do it.

I won’t go into a lot of details but the truth is—if it weren’t for this lady with the odd Boston accent, I probably wouldn’t have made it to a month...let alone a year.

And I wouldn’t have even the small handful of readers I do have if it weren’t for her graciously mentioning me and my silly blog a couple of times on hers…even though it took a great amount of whining and moaning on my part to get her to do it.

But that’s what she does. She inspires and motivates a lot of people…not by preaching or teaching…but by just doing what she does so well…every day.

And so I have no choice but to try and keep up, lest I disappoint.


In truth we’re a lot different because she’s actually a lot more forthcoming about herself than I am. She’s brave enough to wear her heart on her sleeve, for the most part, where as I bury mine, for the most part, under a pile of absurdities.

But we’re both alike in that as difficult as it can be, on any given day, to put something worthwhile down on a page, we do it for the “fat lady sitting on the porch swatting flies”.

That’s a Salinger reference for all you "Franny and Zooey" folks.  I’m not saying anyone's a fat fly hating female…not that’s there’s anything wrong with that.  But if you go to the last few pages of the book you'll know what I'm talking about. And then you should go to the first page and read the whole thing....but by then you'll know the ending. 
So you should have read it in the first place...a long time ago.
But as usual I digress....

Anyway, thanks for joining in and hanging on.

And here’s the biggest secret of all, to which I think Ms. Marotta (who is definitley not fat...just slightly askew) would agree.

We also do it for ourselves.

But don’t tell anybody.

Especially the fat lady….


  1. great blog, brian.... terry is chock full of inspiration....i met her years ago on her book tour and she continues to make a wonderful difference in my days....
    happy writing!! nicole

    1. Great to hear from you, Nichole! I’m glad you enjoyed it. You’re certainly one of the happy faces I picture when I sit down to write these things. Thanks for sticking with me…..

    2. i look forward to it! you are inspiring me to get back on a regular schedule with my blog.... i hope you will check it out one day....

      have a terrific day, brian!

  2. I hope Terry sees this retort. It's true that she wears her heart on her sleeve. It's what is best about Terry. I wear mine on my rear end because there is more room there. Bi-valved too.

    1. You’re definitely an a original, Joan…no butts about it!


Retort to the Retort -

“Is there anybody alive out there…”