The Scenic Route, Part II

I was once so sure that I was going to become a psychiatrist, the original title of this blog entry was The Book. Why did it have that name? Because it was going to be my only book. Now i’ve published two of them, I have about 100 pages of the third one finished, and there’s probably going to be a fourth one that’ll be done before this one ever gets published.

This one isn’t going to be published until i can put the happy ending into the story. What kind of comeback story is it if I simply go from being brain injured to working for minimum wage at a fast food restaurant? That’s just not the kind of awe-inspiring story that’ll make people want to pick up a book. Luckily, in spite of the fact that i’m nowhere near close to even finishing my associates degree, something else came along & turned into my only sign of hope.

In December 2006, after another head injury forced me out of school, I started a funny blog series that grew a cult following. I was on this dating site, and i got an e-mail written in such badly broken English, it made me think, “What if I wrote back in broken English?” it turned out to be so funny, I had to share it with my friends. So, my friends started sharing it with their friends, and the next thing I knew, I suddenly had a biggest fan in England! I wasn’t even aiming outside my home town, let alone another country! That blew me away, and that’s when i knew I was on to something.

After about two years, I reached the point where I had so much material, I decided to put it together into a book. I gave it the title The E.S.L. Dating Diaries: A Collection of Broken English Love Letters. As I was writing these replies, I discovered that I was simply writing to con artists who make fake profiles & try to dupe people into sending them money. So, ‘the game” became to look for fake profiles, reach out to them, and trick them into wasting their time on me. I was making people laugh, raising public awareness of a very hidden problem, it looked like an all around win scenario.

In 2009, after realizing I had enough material for a book, that became the next route I decided to take. I realized that if i could make this sell, i’d be getting paid to make people laugh, raise public awareness of romance scams, and put some con artists out of business. In a strange twist of irony, I fell for the biggest fake literary agency out there while looking for an agent to represent me & my work.

After that incident, i decided to just leave my work in my own hands, and do all the work myself. I made pages on Myspace, facebook, Blogspot, Twitter, and now I even have esldatingdiaries.com, and theforum.esldatingdiaries.com. I started gaining momentum in 2010, I was doing readings at local literary events, and I even did a book signing on June 23,2010.

Five days after the signing, my next unlucky break came. I re-injured my head in a freak accident at work. To this day, I still don’t know what it was, since I was uninsured. I had a sudden fall, and I was so lost & confused that I didn’t even know I was falling until right before I hit the ground. I had no time to catch myself, it was as simple as, “I’m falling? WHAM!!!!”

i assumed it was just a simple concussion since i’d had so many of those before. I figured I just needed a few days of rest, maybe a week or two at the most. I tried to go back to work three days later, but it just wasn’t happening. The more time i spent on my feet, the more the pressure built up in my head. It only took about an hour of carhopping for me to realize I needed time off. If I couldn’t spend an hour on my feet, how long was this recovery going to take? i still tried to be an optimist, but time just dragged on & on, and I just got worse. It reached the point where I was in bed & asleep for at least 12 hours a day 3-4 times a week. I couldn’t even stay on my feet long enough to try job hunting. I slept a personal record of 19 hours in one day three times in a span of a year while I was recovering. The first time I think it was related to my medicine. I was trying to find the right number of pills, & I wound up falling asleep around midnight on a Friday night, and waking up at 7 p.m. on Saturday. I was so sure I was a goner, I rushed through publishing my second book, and it looked bad. It was written in blog voice, and it had a hastily put together guide for spotting fake profiles in it. I felt that was essential to helping put romance scammers out of business. If people knew how to spot their profiles, they would at least have some sign that the person they are talking to is fake.

By the time I finally started making progress in staying on my feet, it had been almost a year since the accident. To give you better idea of exactly how long it was, the accident happened on June 28, 2010. I finally convinced another restaurant to hire me on June 13, 2011. Neither of the restaurants where I had a combined 12 years of experience were willing to give me another chance. They probably just didn’t want to see me re-injure my brain again.

After I got back to work & got a steady income coming in again, I went right back to work on my writing. I re-published both books, but with alot of fine tuning. I added the dots between the ESL in the title, I revised the guide for spotting fake profiles, and put it in both books. I even added the Nigerian bank scam e-mail replies I’ve written, and added a few more previously unpublished letters to make it even bigger.

Of course it didn’t take long to have something throw me off course from this comeback. I re-injured my head in a hit & run accident nine days before Christmas in 2011. I was lucky it was rather minor, I only missed four days of work this time. I’m still not entirely comfortable trying to sweep under things at work, but at least i’m still functional.

I feel like i’m a little closer to having all of my ducks in a row finally. I’m going to spend the next two years working my tail off to get things moving. I’m going to sort of connect together all of the various pages relating to the book: esldatingdiaries.com, the forum, Facebook, Myspace, Blogspot, Twitter, WordPress, and YouTube. I still have advertising credits to use thanks to GoDaddy, and I plan on starting that next month right on my birthday. It’s one of those rare years where a payday just happens to fall on my birthday, and i’m giving myself an awesome birthday gift. I’m hoping i’ll have the money to take some books to my birthday party to give out, but i’m not counting on that yet.

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