When the writer Elizabeth Mosier tagged me in a post, I knew I had to reply. Libby informed me it was Work In Progress Day, which meant this was a day to encourage writers to post the first few lines of their work in progress. Click on Libby’s name above to read the opening lines of her work. Libby gives credit for the idea to her friend, the writer Beth Kephart.
Although I’m about 80 percent through my work in progress, the book is currently unnamed. The book is a black comedy that follows characters who work behind the scenes at a (hold your breath here!) a fictional home shopping network. For those that don’t know, I was a producer at a similar venue for many, many years, as you can see from the photographic evidence I have supplied. Here’s the current opening lines:
“You fell down the rabbit hole, eh?”
This was Wes’s introduction to the United Shopping Network. He’d been partnered up with Willie, a gangly, shaggy-haired production assistant with glazed eyes who darted around the studio in fits.
Wes just stared, unsure how to respond.
Willie smiled and reached out his pale hand. “Dude, welcome to the live show. Do you know how we do it?”
“We do it all with smoke and mirrors,” Willie waved his arms around like he was creating an illusion. He was thin as a reed, and his blue eyes had tiny red streaks running through them.
“Okay,” Wes responded with a laugh.
“Just joking with you.” Willie slapped Wes on the shoulder.
Wes nodded, though he didn’t truly understand.
“Alright, let’s do this.”
Wes had aimed high. He’d sent his neatly typed cover letter and resume to all the appropriate places; 30 Rockefeller Center, Black Rock, even out west to Burbank, Culver City, and Hollywood. Wes’s roommate Thomas had been accepted into the NBC page program, in fact was starting at 30 Rock on the same day. Wes couldn’t help but feel pangs of envy at the thought.
But for every fortunate Thomas, Wes knew several classmates were still searching for any job in their discipline. Several college buddies were back at their old summer gigs; waiting on tables, cutting lawns, life guarding at a pool. Wes thought he might be going that route himself. At the end of April, he had no prospects. The thought of caddying another summer made him wince, then two weeks before graduation, he had received a call out of the blue.
He was invited for an interview at the US Shopping Network, and was offered an entry-level job working as a Production Assistant on the live show. Wes was thrilled to have landed a job in the field he’d gone to school for, even if it was home shopping. He’d gotten his foot in the door somewhere; at least he had that going for him.
Now, he was backstage at a channel that sold chatychkes, standing beside this rabbit-like creature. Unbelievable.