There’s No Business Like Dirty Business When You’re In the Editorial Business
I hate to give even more attention to the immaculately disgusting piece that xoJane published on Thursday.
It has since been torn down — but as a writer — I can’t ignore the pangs of duty that torture me into submission.
I remember desperately wanting to write for Jane magazine back when it was in print and I was a struggling unsuccessful writer — stuck in the city of my nightmares.
Working every job imaginable except the one I really wanted.
I’m not sure how many queries I sent out to Jane — by mail — but none of them amounted to anything.
I wasn’t cool enough to be a staff writer and years later — I wasn’t filthy enough to be accepted as a contributor for step-sister — xoJane.
I did try. For xoJane. I was determined to get in there.
I tried too hard and I’m not proud to admit that my tactics did in fact work.
It was the spring of 2014 — and I had just quit my illustrious tenure as a career executive assistant.
I wanted to be a full time writer with the benefits no portfolio could yield.
I needed to validate the roster of years I had spent catering to the growth of others instead of nurturing my craft.
In the fall of 2013 — the race was initiated.
I was out of the gates — running with speed and endurance. Before long, I had established a stamina that equipped me with the confidence and assurance that I wasn’t fooling myself.
I really was a writer.
Once the new year unfolded — I became immersed in my quest to publish my work wherever and whenever. I couldn’t afford to be picky because as we all know — clips run the game.
The more the better.
By this time, Medium had become my preferred host — thanks to the invitation by an editor (and friend) of a thriving collection (publication is now the updated assignment) who invited me to write for Culture Club — which eventually became Those People.
I owe her a lot.
Her training, patience and support is one of the reasons why I’m thriving today.
As awesome as my new relationship with what was going to be a revolutionary launching pad was — I need more.
I wanted the exposure from established online pubs and the thrill of thrilling more readers with my brand of delivery.
Pitching is a bitch.
It can be a thankless exercise in begging for scraps because you are tasked with the job of introducing your best self to editors that only care about whether or not your offering is fucked up enough for an army of clicks.
I had a wanted list — and at the very top was xoJane.
Perhaps it was the scar of rejection that berated me. In any case — my thirst for their validation sickens me now but back then it was all I could muster.
Like any cautious writer with an agenda — I did my due diligence. My discovery jolted me a bit but I refused to be thwarted.
xoJane was most certainly not Jane. Not at all.
It was a polluted sea bed of branded fodder packaged to make readers sigh with amazement and disbelief. It bore zero resemblance to the magazine that I had fondled with hope and admiration — a decade earlier.
Despite my confusion and disappointment — I still accepted the revised mandate and pursued the possibility that I would be allowed to extend my literary prowess.
It didn’t work.
Like before, the rejection was swift and resoundingly so because this time — my emails were unanswered. I didn’t even have the pleasure of the standardized rejection letter.
Just the embarrassingly and achingly massage of silence.
Fuck that. I will be heard!
So, I devised a way to get the attention I was seeking and it wasn’t pretty. In fact — I never imagined I would ever in life — highlight this episode.
But shit happens.
I truly believe that I have reached the stage in my career as a writer where I can be honest about the stuff that could possibly alter your perception of me.
I’m not a phony. But, I’m not a saint either.
Saints don’t exist by the way. Embattled, tortured souls however — are all the rage. So are people who make bad decisions because they believe it will pay off.
The sedately empowering pitches to xoJane were getting me nowhere — so I decided to make up a story inspired by the frenetic headline of the moment.
It was grossly connived and terribly curated. Every bit of was a lie and I was utterly wasted when I devised and wrote it.
I will never forgive myself for willingly selling myself to the devil.
The idea hit me while I was out and about with a girlfriend. These white guys approached us and started buying us drinks.
In my drunken haze — I noticed how much more older they were and my piece was promptly conceived.
I struggled with whether or not to share the link but I’m doing so only to illustrate how far I’ve come when you consider the vile I summoned under the ghost of mental disarray.
Also — I need to explain why clickbait is a shitty affair. Because it is.
What Amanda Lauren did is way worse than anything I could’ve imagined. At least my lie was regulated to a flimsy character that readers tossed away with glee.
She created a story based on a level of callousness and frightful incoherence that can’t be tolerated or forgiven.
Writing about a friend who was dismally fraught with emotional baggage and then casually owning your relief that she offed herself — is inhumanly tragic.
Her gamble paid off though.
The editor at xoJane approved it because it reeked of putrid symbolism — also — the author is somewhat of a celebrity — based on her ability to effortlessly embody the B-word in ways that piously encourage traffic.
Not long after her damning masterpiece polluted social media — producers from Good Morning America (Katie Conway) and ITV in the U.K. (Daisy Price) extended invitations in the hopes that this calculatingly and direly pathetic excuse for a human being would grace their respective studios with her presence.
By the way — despite the uproar her essay unleashed — not to mention the potential damaging effects it could and most likely will have on people currently battling the symptoms of mental illness — Amanda Lauren hasn’t apologized or expressed any remorse for her actions.
xoJane issued an apology and promised to revaluate the company’s best practices act.
But, it is a little too late to acknowledge the existence of body and soul after enjoying years of soulless supplement at the behest of avid clicks and shares — championed by gross misconduct.
The editorial business is the worst kind of transaction there is.
Donald Trump will most likely be president because media outlets have already given him the authority to be the nation’s publicly adorned bastard.
Disgusting people who say disgusting things are heralded and displayed like the heroes and heroines they are hoping to portray.
Writers can’t just be talented wordsmiths — they also have to own the uncanny instincts that converts an ordinary tale into an extraordinary scandal.
I bought into the nonsense once and it felt like I had whored myself to the lowest bidder.
My story was disgustingly contrived and insultingly wasteful.
The title wasn’t mine. Thank God I’m not that insightful. But the bulk of the piece illustrates my blighted and misguided stab at a sport that I could never excel in.
I don’t want to perfect the skill of monthly tales that range from period blood obsessed boyfriends to older white guys that like to fuck and pay black girls accordingly.
This rant is meant to dissuade up and coming writers who may or may not fall into the category that snatched me whole.
Don’t give into the mentality that you have to be your worst self in order to be anointed and served as the righteous superstar you already are.
Create your own vice when all else fails and make it your business to foster it — because eventually you will get your due.
Don’t be Amanda Lauren and definitely don’t consider xoJane. Both those options suck ass.
There’s no business like dirty business when you’re in the editorial business.
But — you’re a writer.