This is just sort of by way of introduction. I'm TomTerrific, not because I'm Mister Fabulous, but because I was taken, as a kid, by the fact that a line art cartoon on Captain Kangaroo had the same name I did. I guess I was easily amused at the age of two. I still am. This handle, along with a few common misspellings have been my internet persona for over ten years, now.
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My Most Esteemed Redheaded Spouse, Linniered, found this joint and put me on to it after I began wondering why she was spending as much time in front of her computer as I was in front of mine. She's been bitten by the writing bug and has come up with some great efforts (IMHO) that showcase her sensitivity and basically short-circuited view on life, the universe, and everything. I share much of that view.
Me, I've been a writer, for money even, in a serious way for about ten years. Those of you who are *ahem* mature enough to remember Billy Joel's breakout hit "Piano Man" may recall a line in that song:
"Now Paul is a Real Estate Novelist who never had time for a wife". I know that, at the time, I sure wondered what a Real Estate Novelist was. Now I am one.
By day, I appraise commercial Real Estate. You know, shopping centers, factories, that sort of thing. When I've come up with a SWAG of what the property is worth, my next task is to write a novella's worth (at least) of stuff about the property and why I'm right about what I think it's worth. The only real creative part of that is coming up with discreet ways of saying that the property is an ugly, run-down hunk of junk. I could easily say what's needed for the purpose in about ten pages, but the clients I serve think they're paying a lot of money for my services, so they want a lot of words. So I call upon the Department of Redundancy Department to flesh it out. Around here, I'll need a better electronic blue pencil.
Besides that, I've written a rather lengthy series of articles on how to compose and record your original music on a computer, various musical hardware product reviews, and other related pieces. Those I try to infuse with a bit of humor and the occasional twist, just to keep the reader from being bored to tears.
So, here I am, and all I can think of is an experience I had some 20 years ago, when I was in the hospital business. My job involved a lot of public education, lectures and such. I crafted these speeches and lectures with carefully placed bits of humor, irony, and whatnot in order to drive points home and hopefully help them stick in the listeners' minds a bit better.
During this time, one of my former patients who had heard a boatload of my lectures came up to me at a banquet, her husband in tow. She introduced me and added "He's the funny one". Both of them looked at me expectantly with a gaze that could only mean one thing: "OK, go ahead, be funny". Deer in the headlights.
I mumbled something about looks not being everything and shook them off. But, now I'm here, amongst some very talented and creative people and that old bugaboo rises once again, slightly transformed into: "OK, be creative".