A long time ago, in a far away land called Philadelphia, I walked into a bar and asked if I could host quizzo. The owner of the bar had been hosting the Tuesday night trivia for some time, and seemed willing enough to give himself a break. At the time I was pretty broke, and though not looking to get paid in money, was happy to have one night a week when I wouldn't have to pay for drinks.
Let me tell you, I was a sparkplug on the mic. But, it wasn't enough for me to sit around, drinking free beer, and reading questions written by someone else. I wanted to write them. I wanted to research inane and obscure facts about Wrestlemania! Most of all, I wanted to be the God of Quizzo.
When the bossman went on vacation, I saw my opportunity, and I took it: I would write my own questions, and switch them for the bosses questions that Tuesday night. No one would ever know. Or, rather, a roomfull of people, and the kitchen staff, and those three waitresses would know, but the bossman would never know–unless one of those many people told him. Unless...unless my questions were way too easy, and I was nervous so I knocked back one too many and subsequently couldn't keep score correctly. There was an argument. There was a disappointed team. And then there was me, free every Tuesday night thereafter.
It was wonderful while it lasted, however I see now that I didn't yet have the writing chops to craft a straightforward, yet strangely misleading quizzo question. One that in the light of day would be akin to a simple children's riddle, but in the dark, dank Sidecar pub would be more like a whisper that asks the subconscious: How did I ever graduate high school?
Thinking of this today got me wondering what the absolute best, short form writing jobs would be. Here's what I came up with.
Dream job #5
Doing write-ups (for anyone) about bizzare news stories. In Philadelphia there is a radio station with a goof-jock morning show hosted by these two maroons named Preston and Steve. Each morning they take a little time out of their show to recount strange news stories from around the globe. Listening to them got me hooked of weird news. Eventually, I was reading MSNBC.com and even Yahoo! News for strange tories. Sure, the stories are written the same as an other journalistic piece, but it's the content that would get you through the day, right?
Dream job #4
Writing/translating video game dialogue. This would be amazing for three reasons: 1. Free copies of the video games. 2. Spoilers to hold over your friends. 3. You get to dismantle any cultural associations that a given video game might come with, and rearrange them for your new audience understand better. It is not a one-to-one exchange on themes, symbols, and vernacular (obviously), so it has got to get done correctly, or....
Dream job #3
Writing horoscopes. No, I don't have any experience with this. So? My husband used to do this for his college newspaper. He says that his sign always had an excellent outlook for the week, while all other signs typically had terrible luck.
Here's my current horoscope from Freewillastrology.com:
"You've been pretty smart lately, but I think you could get even smarter. You have spied secrets in the dark, and teased out answers from unlikely sources, and untangled knots that no one else has had the patience to mess with -- and yet I suspect there are even greater glories possible for you. For inspiration, Leo, memorize this haiku-like poem by Geraldine C. Little: "The white spider / whiter still / in the lightning's flash."
I invite you to keep a running list of all the ways life delights you and helps you and energizes you. Describe everyday miracles you take for granted . . . the uncanny powers you possess . . . the small joys that occur so routinely you forget how much they mean to you . . . the steady flow of benefits bestowed on you by people you know and don't know. What works for you? What makes you feel at home in the world?"
It's clearly an art. I smell a writing prompt.
Dream job #2
Writing for Mental Floss magazine. I would eat a steaming pile of shredded magazine pulp if they would let me write just one single sentence for their magazine. If you have never read Mental Floss then please refrain from reading anything you might read (street signs, birthday cards, books, subtitles, etc.) until you get your hands on a copy.
Dream job #1
Writing the movie/television show descriptions for Comcast On Demand. I would even settle for Netflix, even though theirs aren't so funny (even though they did not accept my insistance via Twitter that they hire me based on how I noticed a typo in one of their descriptions. What-ever, dudes.)
Anyway. Have you seen any of these Comcast On Demand movie descriptions? If not, then here are two really good examples:
Once, in a 2007 scary movie review, I described Slumber Party Massacre as a "Merry go round of boobs and blood." If I could ever figure out how to apply, I'd probably get the job.
Come to think of it, how would one get ANY of these jobs?
Sometimes dreams are so close....
Courtney Davison is the Editorial Intern for Paper Darts, and a freelance writer. She loves getting mail and eating snacks. Feel free to stalk her, but never judge her.