Colony of Losers- Fuck Stigma and Mental Illness, I'm like 25

Surviving your Quarter Life Crisis and becoming an adult

Pajama Pants In My Backpack (Meeting with a Literary Agent.)

Posted on | October 25, 2010 | 2 Comments

As per usual, it begins to rain less than quarter of my way to my friend’s place. Despite the intense downpour, I’m wearing a shit-eating grin when I enter his cozy basement apartment.

“Titch bit wet out there, eh?” he says.

“Damn right, bah,” I say exaggerating the Nova Scotian accent I don’t generally possess.  “Got some good fucking news, buddo.”

He grins. We often play this game of strange accents and he is one of the few people who can almost always top me.

I pick up my backpack and take out a bag of jalapeño chips.

“Brought some chirps,” he says.

“Better,” I say, my obscene child on Christmas morning smile possibly seemingly a little out of place. I pull out a pair of pajamas and once more get a slightly bewildered reaction.

“Sleep over?” he asks.

“You are never going to guess. Guess.”

“No.”

“Come on, guess. You’ll never get it.”

“Then why would I guess?” he asks.

“Don’t you hate when people do this?” I ask. He nods. “Guess.”

Silence settles.

The explanation behind the pajama pants goes back six months ago. One of my first blogs was about going for a run in pajamas in the Halifax commons, racing in circles until I was exhausted. Sure that this journey mimicked the life I was going to lead.

Today that journey lead to taking a walk towards an expensive restaurant in my nicest suit with pajama pants hidden in my backpack.  Checking my hair in windows to make sure it still looked combed and not excessively floppy. Practicing my smile, reminding myself to not give any of these people my mating look.

“Don’t say anything inappropriate,” I remind myself over and over again. By telling myself to not say anything inappropriate I’m actually guaranteeing that I will.  But hey I’m eccentric.  People like eccentric. Don’t they?

The Bedford Academy is romantically lit and stylish. The waitresses are attractive, smile like I might be someone important and ask if I’m waiting for someone. I say I’m waiting for a couple people but they may be here already.

As I walk into the dining room I see a rather tall Italian man in a significantly more expensive suit than I’m wearing.  He nods to me and I shake his rather large hands.

We sit down at the table and he asks me how I’m doing.

“Uhhhh pretty good,” I say. Don’t say anything inappropriate. “It’s a little strange for me.”

Fuck. Already?

“How so?” he asks.

“Well usually when I go on dates I’m trying to fuck the beautiful girl, thinking of clever things to say, ways to sweet talk her off her feet and into nakedness,” I say.  “I have never been on a date with a beautiful stranger who wants to seduce me. I don’t quite know how to proceed.”

“I’ve never even metaphorically been referred to as a beautiful lady,” he says, not batting an eye at my rather strange comment. He is taking this rather well considering the fact we have never met before this moment.

“You look good in this light,” I say.

He laughs.

I start pitching him my book, the same dance I have gone through a hundred times in the strange act of marketing my mental breakdown. He nods his head and I see that he is really listening and thinking about each word I’m saying.

His associates arrive and sit down at the table. One is in her mid 50s, with striking eyes and a smile that hints at a razor sharp wit. Her associate is late 20s, early 30s beautiful blond with friendly eyes. Eyes going down to wedding ring. A married beautiful woman.

I contemplate informing them of the pajamas I brought in my backpack. Not yet. My dad said not to tell them about the pajamas. To save it and write about it later.

I take off my glasses because my mother told me that I have beautiful eyes and as a result have placed great faith in my ability to use my eyes to seduce and convince.

Eye contact is important I tell myself.

The married woman smiles at me as I shake her hand.

“I knew your brother.”

Oh shit.  Please don’t be a girl he dated and didn’t call back.  Matthew if you fuck this up for me……

“I’m sorry. So sorry,” I say.

She laughs.

“He dated a friend of mine,” she says.

She provides the name.  This girl happens to be mentioned in an earlier blog. I mention this.  She laughs again.

Things are going well.

You are probably wondering what the fuck is going on. No, despite appearances I’m not getting involved in the strangest foursome of all time.

Back to my friend’s house, where in dripping clothes, I’m raising the pajamas at my former roommate like a madman who is also wondering what the fuck is going on. Due to my recent blogging activity he may think I’m in the midst of having a nervous breakdown.

“So why the fuck do you have the pajamas?” asks Peter. “Does it have something to do with the good news you wanted to mention earlier?”

“Yes.”

“What is it?” he asks.

“Guess.”

He takes a chip and glares at me.

“On Friday this really awesome Newfoundland writer Chad Pelley did a fantastic write up on Colony-of-losers. Got a lot of attention.”

“I saw that.”

“When I first put up the blog I put a contact email off to the side of the page. Asking publishers and agents to get in touch with me,” I say. “On Friday I got an email from the Anne McDermid talent agency.  They represent Michael Crummey, Ken Finkleman, Nino Ricci, even our old teacher Laura Penny. They want to represent me. They think they can sell the Cure. Today I went to a meeting with them. I’m signing with them.”

We slap five.

“Celebratory beverage?” he asks.

I shake my head. Antidepressants, booze and celebration only go together moderately well.

“So why the pajamas?” he asks.

“Thought they might have wanted me to act like an eccentric,” I say. “You know go with the image.”

He laughs, just like my agents did when I told them about the pajama pants and this particular explanation for their inclusion in my backpack.

That’s only a half-truth.

As I write this the day is October 25th, 2010.  Little less than a year ago I had a nervous breakdown that tore me to pieces and made me change my life entirely.  When I got better, I started writing a blog about my fear and panic about my future called Colony of Losers.  My third blog involved me running around the commons as I fast as I could in a circle, my pajamas falling as I ran, revealing the full and fantastic cheeks of my Jewish tokus to the world.  Somehow in the span of six months I went from Pajamas to a business suit. From my mother and my closest friends to 10,000 views a week.

I wanted the pajamas to remind me of how much could be done in just six months. I’m wearing the same suit that I wore to my job interview while I was in the worst of my insomnia. That I wore to the funerals of my friends.  I wanted the pajamas there to remind me that if I fall again, I can get back up.  I wear the suit because I want to wear suits only for occasions like this and because I look like a sexy ass motherfucker in a suit.

Now I have an amazing literary agency that has my back and is working to make my dreams come true.  I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who is reading this. You helped get me out of those pajamas and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

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2 Responses to “Pajama Pants In My Backpack (Meeting with a Literary Agent.)”

  1. carew
    October 25th, 2010 @ 8:18 pm

    You also dreamed while sleeping in those pajamas. The dream has come true.

  2. Katrine Macfarlane
    October 26th, 2010 @ 3:04 am

    This is your time, mike. Tearing up on a bus in hong kong….so proud of you.
    Xo

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  • About

    Michael Kimber is a 26-year-old journalist who suffered a nervous breakdown on November 3rd, 2009. On March 28th, 2010 when he recovered from mental illness, he began writing a blog called Colony-of-losers. About falling on your face to figure out who you are and the hilarious antics of a blond jew. What began with a few friends and his mother reading has become a cult phenomenon, averaging 10,000 views a week, receiving praise from Commonwealth Award Winner Shandi Mitchell and many others. On, November 3rd, 2010, the one year anniversary of his mental breakdown he signed with Anne McDermid and Associates, the largest literary agency in Canada. In a year he went from wearing pajamas, making his couch depression HQ to leaving his hometown for the Toronto, where he exclusively wears business suits and the armor of ancient Greeks. Don't worry, he's still choking on the feet he contently sticks in his mouth and making moments awkward just by being part of them. During these struggles he met other talented bastards and drew them into his circle. Peter Diamond became his illustrator. Patrick Campbell his video editor and part time photographer. He recently added the incredibly talented John Packman as Colony of Losers Toronto photographer. Without the support of the Colony of Losers, Michael Kimber would be nothing. Welcome to the losers and the success that comes from utter and complete failure. You aren’t alone. Follow him on twitter.com/colonyoflosersand twitter.com/quimbo. If you’d like to hire him for a public speaking engagement for mental health events in Toronto, like to arrange an interview, offer millions to publish his book or for another reason contact Michael please email him. And join his facebook Colony of Losers.

    Really obvious disclaimer:
    I’m not a trained psychologist. Just a fellow traveler. If you need help seek it from the professionals. The Canadian Mental Health Association provides a help locator. You can find crisis resources provided by the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. If you are in the states check here. It will give you services by zip code. I’d also recommend checking out Mindyourmind.ca. I think they do great work and have been a help to me personally.

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