"I'm going to do it. I don't know if it will work, but I'm going to try."
He read his opening sentence. Finally, he was pleased. He was picky writer who chose his words carefully, because in words there was power; in words there was escape.
The good sister at the charity school had told him he had a talent for writing. He was in fifth grade and it was the first time anyone had said anything encouraging to him. He took it to heart, and worked hard at his writing skills and his language studies.
He knew he was a good storyteller, a natural yarn spinner. In the old times, his family had been the keepers of the tribal lore, the weavers of sagas of heroes and gods. He felt this connection down to his very soul.
After high school, he moved to the city. There was nothing for writers in his village. For a few weeks he lived in the streets, but fell in with three other young men and they pooled their meager savings to rent a one room flat. There was no toilet or tub, but he was used to that from the village.
He eventually found work as part-time reporter for a local newspaper; he found out that his position was called a stringer. He had no benefits and his pay was meager. His beat was sports; mostly covering the games of local soccer clubs but sometimes cricket matches as well.
He soon found why they called it a beat. It was dangerous work since people with little else in their lives took sports seriously. He received a severe beating from irate fans after he wrote critically of the performance of one of their heroes. He lost his job and landed back on the street because he couldn’t pay his share of the rent while he was recuperating.
Later, he connected with another paper covering the same beat. He abandoned the critical approach and concentrated on developing the narrative of every game building tension and drama, even if the readers knew the eventual outcome.
One day, a man appeared before him while he was taking his turn at the desk he shared with three other stringers. When the man asked him to identify himself, he hesitated for fear he was prepared to deliver another thrashing. The man was smaller than he and seemed cheerful, so he revealed himself.
“I am looking for copywriters for my business, and I have become a fan of your work,” the man said.
“I am not a copywriter, sir” he replied “I am a reporter.”
The man laughed. “I understand the difference, but you are a great storyteller, even something of a poet. When I read one of your game descriptions it is like I am reading an epic poem for our time, I feel I am in the goal keepers jockstrap as he awaits the kick. I can teach copywriting, but I can’t teach that.”
The man offered him a job. He said there would be a training period and then he would begin work immediately in the firm’s comfortable offices. The salary was beyond generous and there was profit sharing.
He had no choice but to accept since now he could think of an apartment of his own, and not which bridge he would be sleeping under tonight.
The training was intense and conducted by the man himself. His mantras were “Empathy is the Essence of Writing” and “Be Natural. Speak in Your Subject’s Voice.” The training took place in an air conditioned Quonset hut. It was the first air conditioned building in which he has ever been. It made his teeth chatter.
Now, he was an esteemed member of the writing staff. He studied his first sentence of the piece:
“ I'm going to do it. I don't know if it will work, but I'm going to try.”
His fingers raced over the keyboard, as he continued.
“I am going to cure your erectile dysfunction. The blackbird of impotence roosts heavy on your sagging penis. Real world drug outcomes: Drug interactions of Viagra, Metformin, Januvia, Ibuprofen, Simvastatin. If it is judgement day, he grumbled as we went in to lunch.”
He liked where this was heading. Soon it would be going all over the world starting with Open Salon, a blogging site where he was a welcome member and where had been successful before.