Saturday, December 20, 2008

Following Good Advice

I was checking out my favorite writing links (found at right) and stumbled across some helpful advice with respect to what content an unpublished writer should have on his or her Web site. Now, this isn't technically a Web site (because that would cost, ya know, money), but I'm essentially using it for the same purpose. And that purpose is, of course, to entertain and enlighten the masses (and also impress other writers who will then tell their agents how awesome I am, which will of course lead to said agents getting in cat fights over which of them will have the honor of representing me) The advice was posted on a very helpful site called Editorial Anonymous.

It said this:

Your website, in the very lucky event that an editor decides to look you up, should tell the editor more about who you are as a person-- your other pursuits, anything that makes you particularly well suited to write for kids, your sense of humor, that sort of thing. Your website is a chance to make the editor think, "I like this person. She seems pleasant and fun, and not needy, neurotic, or crazy. I might enjoy working with her."

Now, I'm a sucker for good advice, so let me address the above.

Dear Editor,

My name is Paul Michael Murphy and I am not needy, crazy, or neorotic. Well okay, I'm a little neurotic, but my neuroses are limited to very specific areas of my life. For example, I always, always order four hot mustards with my Chicken McNuggets because I like to dip my fries in it. And when I eat this meal, I take a bite of McNugget followed by two French fries, round and round, until I have just one bite of McNugget and two French fries left. But other than that, I'm pretty normal.

Now, as for "other pursuits," a few times a year I try to break my previous scoring record (126 points, six minute quarters) in NCAA Football 07 on my X-Box. I also once had the goal of reading all 100 of The Modern Library's 100 Best Novels. I read 29, and for the record, I'm voting Portnoy's Complaint number 1 because it was the funniest. I used to enjoy pursuing females, except that I never really actually "pursued" them. I mostly stood in the corner with my guy friends and tried to look cool while hoping that a hot girl would approach me. Eventually, the hot girl interned in the classroom next to mine during my first year of teaching and I ended up marrying her. If you think this was inappropriate, let me assure you that it was not. First, it was during the Clinton years. Second, she wasn't my intern. And third, I waited until the term was finished and she moved to another school before asking her out. As for other pursuits, I like sports, but I no longer "pursue" them much. Mostly I just watch them on TV.

You will be interested to know that I am particularly suited to write for kids for three reasons.
  1. I've been teaching them for the past nine years.
  2. I have a child of my own.
  3. I used to be one.
I'd say these reasons qualify me to write for kids just as much as being a Mormon stay-at-home mom qualifies Stephenie Meyer to write about glittery vampires.

As for my sense of humor, allow me to share with you my favorite joke:

There are three men flying on a plane. The first one is a basketball player. The second is a football player. The third is a soldier. The basketball player throws his basketball off the plane then jumps after it on a parachute. Then the football player throws his football off the plane and jumps after it on a parachute. Then the soldier throws a grenade off the plane and jumps after it on a parachute. On the ground, the basketball player is walking down a street and sees a boy crying. He asks the boy, "Why are you crying?" and the boy says, "A basketball fell from the sky and hit me on the head." The football player is also walking down the street and sees a boy crying. He asks the boy "Why are you crying?" and the boy says, "A football fell from the sky and hit me on the head." The soldier comes walking down the street and sees a boy laughing hysterically. He asks the boy, "Why are you laughing?" and the boy answers, "Because I farted and my house blew up!"

I'd say that pretty much explains the kind of stuff I find funny.

I will now patiently await your frantic attempts to sign me to a massive, multi-book contract.


Paul Michael Murphy


Ben Esch said...


Great blog! I'm sure any editor would be happy to have you, especially after the fart/grenade joke.

You know, I'm impressed with your writing, but it was really the NCAA 07 Football stats that knocked me on the floor. Are you more of a dynasty man or do you just do a season at a time? If I took all the time I have spent nurturing make believe dynasty sports teams on video games I'm pretty sure I could have learned Korean by now.

Anyway, great blog. I'm going back to read your older posts now.

Ben Esch

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Thanks for reading. Too bad my older posts suck. Jokes on you.

As for NCAA 07, I am a Dynasty man and I particularly like to make up really cruddy teams that don't exist, give them the crappiest stadium, never punish any of my players for such lame "violations" as skipping class, and then try to turn them into the 1980s Miami Hurricanes. My most successful team was the Wyoming State Something-or-Others (Not the actual name. That I can't recall), which once won 9 games and just as all of the WSU fans were going bonkers and I was getting games against Idaho televised nationally, I pulled a Bill Frieder and ditched the program for the bright lights of Notre Dame.