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Your Work, Your Life, Your Masterpiece – In Just One Word (Prologue)

October 22, 2009
 flickr-words

Imagine this very afternoon you are approached by one of the most exclusive and sought-after literary agents in the country. Perhaps it is the effusive Rachelle Gardner of WordServe Literary, or the reclusive Sarah Chalfant of The Wylie Agency. 

 She has been watching you, she says, following your every move and closely monitoring those brilliant Blog entries and witty Tweets. As she speaks, you can tell that she is barely able to contain her enthusiasm, because she wants desperately for you to join her A-list of clients. However, she controls herself with a cool and detached demeanor, seeing as she is a distinguished professional. Plus she also wants to make a favorable impression on you.

The truth is, you’ve been expecting this call for years now, because you knew all along that you were really, really special – particularly when it came to expressing yourself through writing –  and that God’s plan for your life surely involved a much more robust distribution channel for sharing these inspirational vignettes beyond the pathetic dribble of visitors from your daily Blog traffic.

As she sets down her tea cup with Ivy League dexterity, you can’t help but notice her most exquisitely manicured hands. She pats at her skirt for a moment, then looks up at you and says, “Your work… It is a gift from heaven! I already have three major publishers lined up for auction. This book of yours will single-handedly revive the publishing industry, I am certain. You will be huge!”

“Well, Duh,” you think to yourself. But instead you say, “I appreciate this so much. You don’t know what it means to me, having my work acknowledged by one with such refined taste as yours.”

She gives a half-interested nod, but is preoccupied. “There’s just one thing…” she says, coyly, tilting her head ever so slightly while stroking your cat, which has silently appeared on the sofa where she is seated.

“Sure,” you reply. “Anything for this book deal. What is it?”

“Your book…” She begins, but her voice falls to a whisper. “Your…masterpiece -” She pauses, gazing out the window at the pattering raindrops against the gray sky. A clap of thunder cracks the silence. She returns a determined, penetrating gaze. “The title of your book – It can only be one word.”

Your face turns white with the shock of this seemingly absurd demand. She continues with a fierce resolve. “Your entire work must be summed up with just one word! The publishers insist!” The hissing of her words hang in the air like a cloud of smoke as she stands to her feet. “It’s the only way this book will sell!”

“One word? My entire life’s work? Are you crazy?”

With that, she exits as quickly as she arrived. You notice that a business card has been left behind, which has fallen to the floor. Picking it up, you study the bold font announcing her fabulous name, and you detect the faintest scent of her lingering perfume. Her voice echoes in your head over and over again with her dire command: “Just one word! Just one word!”

To be continued.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2009 5:44 pm

    A story that can go on forever. And your one-word series title is?

  2. October 22, 2009 5:47 pm

    You just left me hanging…. ugh!

  3. October 22, 2009 6:00 pm

    That was great. I want to hear the one word!

  4. October 22, 2009 10:20 pm

    I think each of could/should come up with our own “one word.”

  5. October 23, 2009 8:30 am

    Is this some kind of announcement?

  6. October 23, 2009 9:56 am

    If this one word must define my life’s masterpiece, then it might not apply to the work I’ve done so far. I therefore reserve that one word until I read the rest of this. I’ll be holding my breath, Brad. :#

  7. October 23, 2009 11:52 am

    You da man, Brad! I knew that when I first stumbled into your literary foyer several months ago. I know you’ll “snow” her. When you’ve overwhelmed her with your brilliance and become famously published, please remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And don’t be like the guy who got on the Pharaoh’s staff and then forgot Egyptian Joe. No “established” editor or agent will acknowledge my existence, much less my efforts!

    Incidentally, it took then Muhammed Ali TWO words when he expressed his view on self esteem for Life magazine:
    “Me? Whee!”

  8. October 23, 2009 12:33 pm

    just one little word? that’s funny!
    most of the titles these days start with several words and leave a few more trailing after the colon.
    lol! what a riot!

    i love the image of the agent. for some reason i see her wearing a crisp yellow suit.

  9. October 23, 2009 7:48 pm

    Oh my gosh. You’ve got a bit ‘o fiction in you! Delightful.

    I loved this… “Well, Duh,” you think to yourself.

  10. Annie permalink
    October 23, 2009 10:34 pm

    One word? mmmmmmmm…challenging to say the least…but with some time, it is possible…can’t wait for the next segment 🙂

  11. shrinkingthecamel permalink*
    October 25, 2009 2:08 pm

    Yes, this is a delightful work of fiction, no? Looks like some folks actually participated with me in this figment of my imagination. Don? Sorry to disapoint you, this is all just a story. And, Marcus – no annoucement. Just a bit of creative writing – warped, maybe, but still creative.

    I originally wanted to set up my next post by saying “Suppose you were asked by someone important to sum up your life’s purpose in just one word?” But instead I went a little overboard and got an agent involved. Made it a bit more interesting, and played to all of us writer wannabee’s who think that our work is maybe a little more meaningful than it actually is…But it does the job in setting up my next post! You’ll see soon enough!

    So, you are all getting the gist of it – One word. Do you think you can do it? I did.

  12. October 25, 2009 2:47 pm

    Delightful? Yes. Downright whimsical, Brad.

    But I have a question. You’ve mentioned three different things being summed up here. The distinction between the three is subtle, yet I’d choose a different word for each of the three (and I know all three words).

    “Masterpiece”
    “Entire life’s work”
    “Life’s purpose”

    Which one do you want defined?

    (And I’m glad I’m waited for subsequent posts to offer that one word …)

  13. Michele Corbett permalink
    October 25, 2009 3:58 pm

    You had me at “Imagine.”

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