Friday, 20 January 2012

How to Make It in America (the UK version)



How to Make it in America is a tale of how you can make your presence known in the city with a little muscle, a lot of creativity and some illegally sourced cash.
Post cancellation I find myself increasingly adrift without my only meaningful business model: How to Make it in America. (It was either that or Ivanka Trump: I'm not sure which option is more misguided) I don't care if the majority of HBO devotees thought that How to Make it in America was a budget version of Entourage. In fact, I hate Entourage, it has never held any relevance in my life, whereas this show seemed to perfectly capture the horror and ambition that can derive from realising you're pushing 30 and your creative degree has been ever so slightly useless and you seem to know less and less the deeper you get into whatever venture it is you somehow believe is going to make you a success story. RIP How to Make it...but here are the chronicles of how some of us are still trying. 

So it turns out I didn't get the editorial job i had been gunning for: a weekend and a half of frantic brushing up on copy editing marks did not pay off (unsurprisingly) and I am left feeling a little deflated at the prospect of more tests for me to fail/not shine in. I know that it was my first attempt and that I will grow accustomed to them but a little part of myself cannot help but wonder "when bitch?". I'm not getting any younger and I would like to find myself in the safe bosom of semi permanent employment some time before I hit 50 ya know?! At least I got a better (read more brutal) idea of who I'm up against. The candidates were no joke. As we sat in the deceptively bright and cheery waiting area it quickly became apparent that we were in fact awaiting literary torture. The potential future of book publishing shuffled and fidgeted in their chairs under the impenetrable gaze of the candidates who clearly had it in the bag and were regarding the day's proceedings as a prize winning fight. One of them accidentally on purpose related how he is working at Random House as we speak (he's probably still in the office reeling of copy editing marks I dare not dream of existing at this point in the game) on the way out of the test to the HR lady supervising us...he was letting us know he is a heavy weight...I got the message...and then I got some dinner...a lot of it...and some wine...a lot of that too...and then I just felt relieved it was all over. Until I got the email letting me know that yes it was all over and the over was permanent! 

  I have been considering my options. To be honest I have been considering them since I was informed I had been short listed for the job because as the time drew nearer to take the dreaded editorial test I wondered what I could justifiably do when I didn't get the job.

1. The seeds of the novel have been planted (or somethin')

I'm a few chapters into the novel that has had way too many incarnations to go into and now feels at home with itself and who I am. I'm no longer trying to write like anybody else. Im trusting that the right amount of black humour and beauty will permeate through to the final result ensuring I don't sound like a cheap and disconcerting imitation of Sylvia Plath/William Faulkner/anyone I have been forced to recognise the genius of in my years of academic essay writing. I also have helpfully decided that I would be more comfortable exposing my life experience, my personality through a figure who existed in real life and who I have found common ground with rather than directly writing about myself. I didn't seek out this person, I chanced upon her during my studies on tales of African Americans "passing" for white in modern American literature. I feel very connected to her story in spite of us having chosen to live differently and so I am writing a fictionalised biography of her life. Above all I'm concerned with depicting the life story of a woman with great creative potential that was never fulfilled in its entirety with some retrospective justice. She has been undervalued, she has been defined by association and her artistic legacy has been ignored and neglected for life choices that isolated her from the racial group America automatically assigned her as a mixed race woman. She's relevant, brave and rather post modern in her approach to life.  And hey! if random members of the Bloomsbury group can keep being resurrected from the dead so can she!

2. The combined power of The Marilyn Factor and her handsome partner in crime.

So I'm now fully onboard with my boyfriend in running a music and poetry night and we're looking to expand this year into publishing a couple of titles a year and into curation. We're on the verge of confirming a designer for our up coming website and we'll be providing a lot of visual content to tie in with the brand this year. We're also planning the tone of each event for this year rather carefully (HQ, ie: our yard, is filled with ideas nowadays) I'll be letting you more about forthcoming events and our progressive stumblings towards our very own "making it" in these entries.

  These are my main focuses for 2012 while I claw my way into the editorial world like a rather thirsty iguana. If I can't get the opportunities in the outside world I'm just going to have to make my own aren't I? Being self employed is the ultimate destination in most peoples's minds but getting to a state of comfort within that self governance is never an easy ride. It feels harder than being employed (err, maybe that's because our whole lives/imaginary children's lives depend on our not completely fucking our shit up so bad we can't afford to try again?!!) Sometimes I find myself fast forwarding towards both of us in crappy, poorly paid jobs that make us angry but then I stop myself by breathing in the happy entrepreneurial spirit (read potentially life crushing naivety) of the present: the willingness to invest whatever we have in terms of money, time and energy towards the progression of an idea that could grow so much bigger for poetry and for us two little individuals. And we're not alone in the need to make our own place in the world on our own times, everybody seems to be at it now! I don't know of any couples giving self employment a go within our circles of friends (probably because it's a crazy ass idea) but there are plenty of them to draw inspiration from on the inter web and I intend to highlight their coolness in these entries. 


  Creative ventures such as Splendid Willow  a Swedish Interior design blog that often draws upon her own gorgeous home and her family life. It has facilitated her launching her own online shop where she sells beautiful home accessories. Or the very cool Nectar & Pulse which is in short a personalised travel guide: they assess what kind of travel experience you want and match you to their choice of "local soul mates" who know all the cool places to eat, drink and be a dirty consumer and then you buy your soul mate's travel guide. There are many add ons to your personalised package available (there's even jewellery to exchange with your "travel mate" to immortalise your journey together) It sounds bougie, and maybe it is, but I like their conviction! What is wrong with enhancing the travel experience? I admire the way they're trying to tap into a young and diverse market who are hopping across Europe regularly for work and for fun and want to be led straight to the source of their lifestyle. It's clever and beautifully presented and I find myself perusing their soul mates with more intense scrutiny than I would probably dedicate to finding a mate to share a lifetime with! Travel mates, travel soul mates..it's far more exciting than rummaging through the Guardian's online dating service! I'm frankly rather aroused at the mere hint of labels/opportunities to eat more/art galleries that I can't find in the first 20 results for a city on Google! (I got too much shit to do to trawl through the next 20!)

 Check both entrepreneurial endeavours out when you're feeling lacking in the inspiration department!



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