Here is today’s signal boost for my travel blog. This one is for Heart Mountain Interpretive Center in Cody, WY, where 14,000 Japanese Americans were kept prisoner throughout World War Two. Check it out at Gettingoutmore.org
So, I’ve been beating my head against this post for a while. The last few days has been really difficult trying to figure out just what the hell I am doing with my life. I’ve felt like this probably my whole life. Why is it that someone has abundance, while someone else struggles? How is it that someone can just go out and buy an $80k vehicle, while some of us are driving an old worn out piece of shit?
Today, the agency I write for released the top ten earners for the month of March, which is arguably my worst month ever writing for this company. I might have made around $300. Nothing is moving. The assignments I can pick from are usually already choked with other posts, or the guidelines are overkill. Two PDFs and a tutorial to write 1000 words on something they have outlined the piss out of, with an insanely high rejection rate. I guess it stands to reason the picky clients are the only ones who have jobs available, because nobody wants to spend an hour working on something with a 90% chance of being rejected.
The top earner made $8700 in March. All I could think was “How the fuck did anyone manage that?” The assignements lately have been complete dog shit. Am I missing something?
I just feel a little…lost today. I don’t know what the hell I am doing. I feel like I have the opposite of the Midas Touch, where everything I touch turns to crap. My aspirations at freelancing and especially travel writing are stalled. Yet, somehow if I watch a YouTube video or a TikTok of someone making a go at it, everything looks easy. For whatever reason, nobody seems to want the content I’m producing.
And before you offer up advice, just know I’m venting, I’m not looking for solutions. Seriously, I had one person comment that I needed to just make a food blog once. Mostly because that’s all they are interested in. Yes, because the other 40 billion food blogs out there haven’t already saturated what could be considered a market. I tried a food post and it flopped harder than my usual shit.
I’m reluctant to start a Fiverr account because it will just be another attempt for me to reach another evolutionary level that for whatever reason I’m not allowed to participate in. So, basically an empty booth for my services people couldn’t give a fuck about. And I’ve seen the videos for some people who could hardly string a few words together to make a sentence making six figures a year and turning down work because their Fiverr is so lucrative.
My travel blog is dead in the water. People only read this one because they might see me Taylor Swift somebody I once dated or I discuss my miserable fucking existence during my marriage, which I blame for being about ten years behind any trend or opportunity, because now I have to compete with Millennials, GenY, and bots from India for clicks or likes or whateverthehellelse I am trying to accomplish here.
If I were a 19 year old girl with a giant rack and tank tops, I would probably be killing it. I’m a 46 year old divorced dad losing my hair, who writes a bunch of shit nobody will look at, much less buy. My ex-wife was right, bless her black and malignant heart. Of course all the years I could have been doing something about my life, I was taking care of her ass. And now I have nothing to show for it except emotional damage, lots of attorney bills, and trauma.
The world doesn’t want people like me.
There’s a blogger who posts pictures of birds with bad puns as the caption that gets hundreds of likes…meanwhile, I try to tell a story, and all it does is serve as a platform for self-aggrandizing. I’ve been accused of whining. Like maybe 10 people will read it. Half of them are scammers liking my post to hawk fake cialis. You should see my spam folder.
I’ve been told my work is too “editorial.” Not sure why some people can be editorial AF and I can’t be. Maybe it’s not in my stars.
I just keep thinking I’m missing something. Is there some kind of club or goddamn ritual sacrifice I’m supposed to do to actually put my talents to good use? In other words, turning my abilities into a way to make a living?
Not a lot of people can write and even fewer can write well. I can write real good and yet…
So it goes.
There doesn’t seem to be any goddamned reason behind any of it.
What I’m left with is editing a book nobody will buy because the goddamned publishers would rather print another Ruth Bader Ginsberg biography for kids or some Live Laugh Love shit than anything that I would write. More gatekeeping. I’m sick of all of it.
Between the failed blogs, the failed podcasts, the lack of outside interest in pretty much anything I try…I’m not feeling encouraged to keep going. Whereas it feels like other people can just spit a peach pit out the window and it will grow a whole fucking arbor.
As I was allowing myself to slip into a depressive nap, mostly due to the lack of assignments with the agency that I write content for, I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell the next few months of my life will look like. Instead of focusing on ways to make a month’s worth of money in a couple weeks, I decided to just let myself drift. I slept for a while.
When I woke up, one of my oldest friends had texted me that Gilbert Gottfried was dead.
I knew just from watching his documentary that he was struggling with something and likely wouldn’t be long for this world, but at 67, damn he didn’t get a lot of time out of this life. Maybe it’s true what they say. It’s the miles.
I remember being mesmerized by Gilbert on USA Up All Night as a kid, and I thought Ronda Shear was sorta…exploitative? Somehow Gilbert was always hilarious. I will always remember the time he was at a boat show, pretending to be in the middle of a storm. Then they played some bullshit movie like Reform School Girls or Stuck on You. You watched the show for the bumpers, where Gilbert had 30 seconds to alter your consciousness while ads for Silk Stalkings, phone sex hotlines, and spray on hair tempted you with their wares for the next five minutes until the forgettable movie started playing again.
In my repertoir of impressions, Gilbert was right up there. Not relevant then, not necessary now.
Most people my age knew him as the parrot in Alladin, or the duck from the Aflac commercials. His standup was like an extended version of USA Up All Night. He was merciless. But almost…wholesome. Jeez, Gilbert was everywhere. I didn’t start listening to Howard Stern until 1999 when I moved to Denver, and frankly I never understood the appeal, but today I’ve been listening to old clips when Gilbert was part of the ensemble of talent that the hole of Howard Stern surrounded itself with to make a donut. His work on Stern was gold.
His documentary showed a sweet man surrounded with a loving family, doing his same bullshit bits at the Poconos clubs, goofing with napkins and paper plates. I got the impression he was struggling financially, but still putting in the hours in spite of whatever health problems were kicking the hell out of him. I think he was a comic from another era, more at home with some kind of vaudevillian fuckery than his contemporaries.
I used to listen to his podcast for a while, during the early part of the pandemic. He was like a funny Joe Rogan, somehow with access to even better guests. I listened to a lot of podcasts at the tail end of the job which unceremoniously shitcanned me after 19 years. I would wake up at 7:57am, log in to my computer, log in to MicroSquash Teams, and put a podcast on the other screen so it made it look like I was at my computer. Then I would go back to bed for a few hours. The only real difference between the end of that job at home and the majority of it at my desk was my eyes were open most of the time at my desk.
If only I had known how much of an influence on my own growing mind as a young man that Gilbert Gottfried would have had on me today…I probably would have been a bigger Ronda Shear fan. Or thrown myself in front of a bus.