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How To Get Famous
How to Get Famous.
By Erin Elisabeth Ambrose
That’s all I had. Typed in Times New Roman font, size 12. The title, and my name. That’s it, that’s all I had had for the past half hour. Nothing was coming, just the thoughts that I shouldn’t have waited until last minute to write my “How-To Essay” for my English class. I had used up my daylight hours to watch dumb videos on YouTube and stuff myself with processed hot dogs at my friend Nick’s baseball game. At the thought of food, my stomach growled. I am always hungry; my friends called me The Bottomless Pit. I could eat more that my dad and brother combined. Thank God for high metabolism. I stretched my neck, saying to myself that once I wrote down at least the first step I’ll get something to eat. I rubbed my tired eyes and tried writing whatever came to mind.
Step 1) Get good at something.
I sighed. I could practically hear my deceased English teachers from elementary school roll in their graves. I re-typed it.
Step 1) Become superior at any talent you may possess.
Not bad. I added more.
Step 1) Become superior at any talent you may possess, such as:
Satisfied, I saved my entry and walked into the kitchen. I flipped on the light, opened the fridge, and scanned my options. Frozen pizza? No. Leftover goulash? Eh, disgustingly tempting, but no. Watermelon? No, too healthy. PB and J? Don’t have to ask me twice. I fixed it my special way, one slice of bread with jelly, with another slice of bread with peanut butter on top. I added another layer and topped it off with a plain piece of bread and voila! Masterpiece! I poured myself a glass of apple juice and sat back down at my computer.
Step 2) Be active in your community with your talent. Act or sing in public for concerts, write a segment in the local newspaper, etc.
I ate a few bites of my sandwich. Step two looked good, but I felt there was something missing. I put down my sandwich and wrote:
Step 2) Be active in your community with your talent. Act or sing in public, with permission, of course. Write a segment in the local newspaper about organic vegetables or quilt-making, or anything you like to do, that everyone deems you as ‘The Weird One.’ for having an interest in. (Don’t worry, newspaper editors are not very judgmental…for the most part.)
I could picture my teacher, Miss Lawrence, reading step two and scoffing. She doesn’t like me because I have what some people call “dry humor.” Or, what my mother calls “obnoxious wit.” I tend to disagree. I can have…what would you call it? Wet humor, if it’s not dry humor? Sure, and I can be as un-obnoxiously witty as I please.
Step 3) Find an agent or a publisher.
I couldn’t really improve on that one. I’m not going to write that it’s like going to hell and back in getting an agent, and I assumed getting a publisher wasn’t easy either.
I rubbed my eyes again. My computer clock said 2:09 a.m. I sighed, and got up to go into the kitchen once more. This time I went into the pantry to find a strawberry granola bar, my favorite. Of course, we were out. I opted for blueberry, which is okay, but has a slight hint of straight-up-nasty in the aftertaste. I sat back down in front of the computer.
Step 4) Once you have found an agent, sponsor, or a publisher, climb your ladder on the way to success! Have fun being famous!
I leaned back in my chair. My sympathy went out to anyone who ever had to read such a thing. But hey, it’s for senior English, not TIME magazine. Sure, I’ll probably get a crap grade for it, but since I’m so time-crunched, it’s not bad. I added a few more bits and pieces here and there, so it ended up being about a page long. I printed it, put it by my school stuff, and went to bed.
A few weeks after the school term got out for the summer, I received a call on my phone. I was washing dishes, and it was from a number I didn’t recognize, but I answered anyway.
“Is this Erin Ambrose?”
“Miss Ambrose, this is Nancy Hillinger from Random House Publications. But you can call me Nancy. We were contacted by a Miss Lawrence of Newberry High School.”
My eyebrows arched. “Miss Lawrence…contacted you? Really?” I asked.
“Yes, she sent us your article on ‘How to Get Famous.’ She said we should set up a meeting with you and discuss some possibilities. If you added more to it, I’m sure we would have a publication deal in order, if you’d like.”
I was in such a complete shock, the plate I was drying crashed to the floor and broke into a million pieces.
“Miss Ambrose? Is everything alright?”
“Yes! Everything is fine. I’m just…surprised, that’s all.”
“Miss Lawrence said you have an uncanny dry wit. She said we would like that.”
I was beginning to think this might be a prank phone call. Miss Lawrence, liking my uncanny dry wit? Impossible.
“Did she? That’s hard to believe.”
Nancy paused. “Apparently not. She liked it enough to call us. Would you like us to get a meeting set up?”
I paused, and took a bite of a piece of cherry pie my mom had made, and swallowed, making sure I was still alive.
“Yes, I would love to set up a meeting.”
A few weeks after the meeting, Random House called again, saying they want me to expand my How-To article into a full-fledged book. I agreed, saying I would start on it right away.
I waited until about one in the morning to start.
How to Get Famous
By Erin Elisabeth Ambrose
Step 1) Write an article on ‘How to Get Famous’. It works.