Saturday, September 26, 2009

Easy as Awry – My AD/HD Filled Disaster

Hear this article read to you:

(cc) Emily BarneyOut of the blue last April someone from ADDitude Magazine read “The Quiet Riot” and thought it would be perfect for their magazine. So they asked me if I’d let them use it. They’d even pay me. All I had to do was provide a clever, creative photograph to accompany the article.

Easy as pie, as they say.

I’m assuming this expression is referring to scooping the filling out of a pudding cup into a pre-made pie crust. My pie experience was a bit more complicated. In fact, you’d have to make a homemade pie with a 200 strand, lattice crust with environmentally endangered Delta Smelt filling and an injunction with three dozen angry unshaven activists in your front lawn before you came close.

First up was the photo. The idea for the photo came to me rather quickly. I just needed to photograph me sitting in a Zen-like state with headphones on while my colorfully dressed daughters blurred around me. The problem was gathering the daughters. Ever find a floaty in your soup and try to casually scoop it out with your spoon? I find the floaty usually avoids my spoon with almost intelligent evasive maneuvering. Soon I end up finger deep in the soup trying to trap the floaty against the side of the bowl.

Getting my family together for one photo while I wasn’t ticking was sort of like that.

I eventually threatened to transform into Father Zeus and they quickly gathered with bright, beaming faces. Obviously, I was the bad guy. After all, it only took them three weeks of procrastination & lip to get around to letting me photograph them. Sheesh, I’m so impatient…

The photo, however, was actually the least of my worries.

I’ve not sold one of my blog articles before, so when the boilerplate contract arrived there were all sorts of corporate generalities that—if interpreted loosely—laid claim to my wife and my left foot, but I may have been misreading it. At any rate, I emailed the kind folks at ADDitude Magazine about my concerns and we hammered out a workaround. All I had to do was amend the contract as we agreed (a simple sentence tacked on at the bottom), date & sign it, mail it in to them, then they’d do the same on their end.

Easy as pie.

Unfortunately, my kitchen had been a boiling cauldron of chaos that previous weekend. I had one of the largest disagreements with my wife ever in our marriage and I began the week more distracted than usual. What should have been a simple matter to amend was made complicated by the fact that I had accidentally mailed the contract back already, dated & signed, in the middle of negotiations.


Even more embarrassing is that I realized this only after working out a deal with them. Two days later I called them and kindly requested the contract back.

It was supposed to be my big break. Finally, I was being recognized for the skills and writer’s voice I had developed. I was going to be published nationally and make my goal for the year. I had never worked with them before so the entire relationship could be free of past screw-ups or the baggage of years of dopey AD/HD inspired gaffes.

Then I did this.

Regardless of what we had agreed to on the phone, they were in possession of a signed and dated contract. They didn’t have to renegotiate anything. It was time to pack my wife’s bags and wrap up my left foot. If those folks weren’t already used to ADDled minds, though, I can’t imagine they would have ever sent the contract back for the amendments. Yet they did. Disaster avoided.

By May I had two rather lumpy, lopsided pies to show for my efforts. They didn’t taste half bad either. ADDitude Magazine was so pleased with the article that they requested I do a book review, too. Now I’ll have two articles with my byline before I turn 43. It’s an achievement that fills me with not a small amount of satisfaction.

If I could do things over again I would have written out the process as a todo list. That way I couldn’t have absentmindedly mailed anything off before it was ready. Heck, I’m lucky I remembered to sign the contract at all. Next time I’ll not trust my memory with things of such import.

And maybe I’ll avoid pies altogether and just stick to pudding cups.

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