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Ross Murray's Border Report
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Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Posted 01.23.13
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

We are the 99 percent (who are not J.K. Rowling)

Dear readers,

It breaks my heart to do this. Honestly, it does. You have been with me through thick and thin, then briefly very thick and back to mostly thin again. You have offered nothing but encouragement and the occasional cellophane-wrapped fruitcake, and for that I am truly grateful. And only a handful of you cancelled your subscriptions when I wrote my satirical but ultimately misconstrued column, "Kittens: They're Not Just for Breakfast Anymore."

But in solidarity with my fellow writers, bloggers, scribes, wordsmiths and those who work with language but pretty much cringe at words like "scribe" and "wordsmith," I am joining the class action suit against readers for emotional and physical distress.

I do not join this class action easily, mainly because I misplaced the registration forms under a pile of newspaper clippings and those flimsy scraps of wax papers they use to select your doughnut and deposit it in the takeout bag. Also, there are takeout bags.

I remind myself that without readers we are but bangers of keyboards, fillers of pages, lurkers of Starbucks, our only feedback provided by Spell Check and our moms, both of which know nothing of our art! Without readers, we'd just be spewing out words with no real purpose, like Jodie Foster at the Golden Globes, except in sweatpants instead of sequins and with still no love for Mel Gibson.

As writers, our whole rationale is to try and satisfy the readers. And therein lies the crux of the biscuit (or the cream of the doughnut): we've put at risk our health and shockingly delicate wrists in the service of the reader, and now we want what's coming. To us. The writers. In case I wasn't clear. I'll edit this later.

As you no doubt read in the pages of the popular literary news quarterly I Ink Therefore Iamb, this class action is the coalescence and fulmination and very possibly the fulminescence (take that Spell Check!) of several disparate protest movements: the poets with their Idyll No More marches; the authors of teen-oriented dystopian fantasies who have gone on a Hunger Games strike; and, of course, the Occupy Movement, which has seen hundreds of aspiring writers clogging the aisles of independent book stores and bothering the staff, which, to be honest, isn't so much a movement as business as usual.

Individually, these protests have failed to gain traction, much like my 1600-word blog post entitled, "Things That Have Lingered in the Potpourri Dish on Top of My Toilet Tank for Over a Decade," which, due to jealousy and petty literary politics, failed to receive the viral adoration it deserved.

Working together, though, this diverse collective of writers with their many styles and ideologies -- from the dramatists to the poets to the meta-fictionists (who annoyingly keep wanting the protest to be about the protest) =- have cobbled together a manifesto that distills the diverse creative drives of literary artists down to its universal goal: cash.

Thus, having failed to recoup their investments in self-published memoirs and unable to sell that treatment for their proposed reality series "Toddlers and Tequila," writers of all stripes have entered this class action against the audiences for whom they jeopardize not only their well-being but also their employment should they get caught one more time using office supplies to print off their manuscript.

The writers' claims include the following:

  • Dependence on coffee, alcohol, jujubes and Facebook likes;
  • Damage to the posture, lower colon, semi-colon, coccyx and hibiscus;
  • Chronic failure to properly fact-check;
  • Lack of sleep and (let's face it) appreciation;
  • Mental duress over whether anyone's going to get the reference in that joke about Alice Cooper doing a soft drink commercial ("Welcome to My Root Beer...");
  • Ongoing muscle atrophy due to prolonged lack of exercise, because that epic Norse poem isn't going to write itself, you know!
  • Fixation, constipation, familial alienation, rhyming;
  • Doughnuts.
It pains me to be a part of this class action but we writers need to stick together -- at least until one of us makes it big, and then it's every hack for himself.

Considering, though, that most writers are also huge readers, we're ultimately suing ourselves. But that's okay; if there's one thing writers love more than cash, it's irony.

Ross Murray's collection, You're Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, is available in Quebec in area book stores and through www.townships.ca. He can be reached at ross_murray@sympatico.ca.

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