To pitch implies that someone will catch, don’t you think? So to pitch, from the very get-go, is itself a hopeful act.
And yet of course–as thousands of Hollywood wannabes could tell you–the hope of “pitch” almost always ends in despair, with the “not for us at the moment,” or “mmmm…we were thinking of going more with a JosswhedonjjabramsNOTYOU type” …
Or the plain “nope, hated it, don’t turn in your waitressing apron just yet, toots.”
To write a pitch for a piece of writing–to take alllll those words and boil them down to some kind of nugget–a nugget that someone will want to catch? Brutally hard. You try it. Distill something you wrote into a sentence. Or take the sentence and boil it into three words.
I’ve embarked on the yeahwrite 31 Days to Build a Better Blog: at the end of July, this blog will be bionic, I swear, leaping tall buildings, ripping phone books in half with its bare hands; it’s going to be a lean, mean, blogging machine.
But first I need a pitch.
The tagline for this blog is “perpetually ambivalent New Yorker…now living in Abu Dhabi, UAE.” I’m going to drop the UAE because let’s face it, no one really knows what the hell those letters stand for anyway, and everyone already thinks that Abu Dhabi is Dubai, so whatever. I can’t drop “ambivalent” because that pretty much structures my entire psyche and while, yes okay, maybe I should work on that, July is about blogwork, not selfwork. So hands off my ambivalence.
But then we get to the whole “yeah, but what the hell is a mannahattamamma, anyway?” No one wants to hear the story of finding the name for this blog, which involves long detours into Walt Whitman’s poetry (the opening lines from his beautiful poem “Mannahatta” were originally on the masthead of the blog), so that’s out. (Yes, originally I wanted Manhattanmamma, but someone had already bought the domain name, dammit.)
Okay, so I have sort of a tagline (perpetually ambivalent New Yorker … now living in Abu Dhabi) but I need that nugget-y bit. Gist, pith, boiled-down essence,whatever you want to call it.
How about this:
Just after Arab Spring, a Manhattan mom left New York with her two young sons, her husband, several soccer balls, and eight thousand lego pieces in order to work as a literature professor in Abu Dhabi, on the edge of the Arabian Gulf. As a New Yorker, Mannahattamamma chronicled the complications and comedy that emerged as she and her husband negotiated jobs, children, and New York’s public schools. In Abu Dhabi, Mannahattamamma still writes about family, politics,culture, and education, but her observations are filtered through the frequently absurdist lens of expat life in in a desert city where gold-plated cars and camels are equally common sights. Lawrence of Arabia it ain’t…but even so, life here still sometimes borders on epic.
That’s about 110 words. Might not be grabby enough, or funny enough. Might not be…enough enough.
What do you think? Comments in comments please? Be nice but be tough. And if your eyes have glazed over somewhere in the second paragraph…let me know (when you wake up).
man at a festival a few months ago