Someone wanted to know what happened that sent Amtrak Annie off the main line. Well, it's just about exactly what has happened to so many Americans. The corporation that owned the books I worked for kept trying to find ways to get the copy more and more cheaply. Finally they said I would have to incorporate in order to get more work. At great expense, I became the company Atlantic Information Services.
Speaking of which, Atlantic Information Services vied for least successful corporation in the entire state of New Jersey in 2005! (Just kidding, I didn't lose my shirt like some LLCs do. But it's doggone expensive to bust up an Inc. once you've started it.)
Shortly after I incorporated, the multi-national that owned the ref book company gave the entire ref series contract to a single corporation, owned by a former full-timer who'd been in house after I left. That guy held all of us faithful Contemporary Authors contributors hostage, dropping the rates and expecting all the crazy coding to be done and checked by us. I tried it for awhile, and then I decided that I could make better money substitute teaching. It was that tedious. And the most tedious entries were the ones I liked doing -- the big deal authors like Arthur Miller (see my former entry in Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, I think it's Vol. 20, at any rate one of the early volumes and not Volume 347, which is what they're cranking out now). Arthur Miller liked what I wrote about him so much he autographed the entry for me. I got a nice note from Stanley Kubrick too.
From time to time friends do send me tips on jobs. Invariably they turn out to be turkeys (the jobs, that is, not the friends). Philadelphia is a publishing hub, but all of its pub houses are for medical/technical books and periodicals. I've been trying for years to crack into one or the other of them with no luck, because they want people with medical or scientific writing backgrounds.
I do plan to create my own web site this fall, if I can find a bored god who will help me set it up for a reasonable rate. Athena, Goddess of Wisdom springs to mind, as does my dear old buddy Fintan, the Salmon of Wisdom. Maybe they'll get me off Amtrak and put me in the Space Shuttle. I know for a fact that Fintan is very eager to put his fins to any task.
Tomorrow, or the next day, it's back to my old sassy self! I didn't set up "The Gods Are Bored" to be a pity-poor-me pit. I'm here to have fun. Go ahead. Tie my hands behind my back and put me in a blueberry pie-eating contest. You can bet your shirt on me, and I'll win.