A friend had forwarded me an email advertising a writing gig. The subject line of the email read: Roofing Blogger.
Roofing blogger! Hell yes! I love roofs! I once roofed a house! I once ripped a roof off a house. I fell off a roof in third grade and broke my arm! I once made out on a roof! The love of my previous life once surprised me by waiting on my roof in a bikini! (She was actually cleaning the skylight.) I want to write about roofs! Five posts, 800 words each of original roofing content. Twenty-five hundred bucks. I could crank out five posts in three hours, pay the mortgage and then some.
My mind raced to conjure possible topics: 1) That riveting Oregon Tavern Age conversation about roofing I overheard in the Big O Saloon; 2) The classic early 60s hit “Up on the Roof” by The Drifters; A probing literary essay about all the mentions of roofs in Sometimes a Great Notion; 4) Snoopy’s existential musings on the roof of his dog house; 5) A meditative pastiche of roof-top images from Mary Poppins, Peter Pan and Jason Bourne rooftop-chase scenes; 6) A deconstruction of the rooftop scene from the movie Reality Bites; 7) A proverb from the Old Testament that went something like, “It’s better to live on the roof of a house than inside with a contentious woman.”
I was giddy about the possibility of writing about roofs, perhaps becoming the foremost blogger in America on roofs. I hurried down to the garage, dug out the ladder, brought it outside, climbed on my roof, and beheld the gillnetting grandeur of Youngs Bay. There was another essay right there!
A gull flew by. Then another. They gave me the eye. I came to my senses.
The roofing industry wouldn’t want my swashbuckling takes on their product. They would demand the basics and practicalities. They would want discussions of composites, shingles, cedar shakes, tiles, gutters, sealants and moss eradication.
I couldn’t write that dreck!
I looked at my roof. It was a damn good roof and kept me dry during a record rainfall. Not one tiny leak or speck of mold.
I could write that dreck! And I would sprinkle in Kesey and The Drifters, too, dammit!
(If you found this post enjoyable, thought provoking or enlightening, please consider supporting a writer at work by making a financial contribution to this blog or by purchasing an NSP book.)