I was approached to write opinion pieces for a real live climbing magazine, based on the staff’s affection for my other blog. I’ve been asked this kind of thing before by people who like sendaustin, but it didn’t work out and actually was kind of a traumatic experience, as it included quite a lot of spec work with an editor, followed by a nasty email about how immature and stupid I am, and no money. I’m pretty much not exaggerating, and I’m apprehensive to get into this again.
SendAustin is written in a voice that is, I hope it’s needless to say, not altogether my own. It’s a character, and on that site I make that character say all kinds of things that I would not, as myself, say or in some instances even believe. It’s fun, and it entertains me and the people who read it, and it’s a nice vehicle for expressing things that I actually do believe, but it’s mostly pretend. So see this is a problem. Obviously if this mag likes sendaustin, they are wanting some sendaustin-style missives. Thing is, I don’t know if I can make that happen. I don’t know if I can use that voice to say things that I then have to sign my real name on, not that I have to do that for the mag but still. I know that seems silly, because everyone knows I do SendAustin, and I field plenty of flack for the things I say on there, but still, there is this wall of play-acting.
For instance, I think lots of men in this town are decent looking, strong as get out, and very cool, but for sendaustin I make it into a big crush thing with super girlie boy-craziness, mixed with ‘guy talk’ chauvanist madness that I borrow from WWTDD. Because a female voice commodifying men based on their physical appearance is rather unexpected and (therefor) funny. Plus, people find it flattering, and I like making people feel good. This, btw, has lead to some awkward, embarrassing missunderstandings about my personal feelings towards others. I mean, I wouldn’t disagree with sendaustin on anything, but I set aside parts of my personal code to make it happen. Because a blog about how everyone is just doing their best to get through this life and we all need to support each other with honesty and open minds would be really boring. No one would read it.
So should I do the magazine gig in character, or something close to character, for cash and validation and to build the SendAustin brand, whatever that means? I think I am also kind of intimidated, since I have had such bad luck before with magazine work and don’t consider it worth the pain of rejection after a woo-ing, the hustle, or the dismal, 6-months later (maybe) money.
Add to this the issue of I don’t know what I would write about anyway. When I made myself think about it, all I could come up with was how climbing magazines are so boring and stupid compared to surfing magazines, which are entertaining, inspiring and hilarious. Maybe I’ll pitch that to them. If they go with it, I’ll know they understand my editorial perspective. What should I do?