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The Amazing Adventures of Cicero Barken, the First Person to Earn a Million Dollars on HubPages

Updated on June 18, 2013

Listen my children and you shall hearken

To the wondrous tale of Cicero Barken...

Humble Beginnings

His origins were humble, if truth be told, and bore little indication of the fame that would overwhelm him in later life. His father collected rubbish for the municipality. His mother was a housewife who clipped coupons and wore herself to a frazzle trying to care for her brood. He was the fifth of seven children. The family lived all together in a two-bedroom tenement in the Bronx.

Early Struggles

The most destitute of Charles Dickens's characters had nothing on Cicero Barken. When he was three his father lost his job. His older brothers and sisters hit the streets to try to support the family. When they couldn't pay the bills the heat was cut off in their apartment and Cicero got influenza, and tuberculosis, and pneumonia, and asthma. His mother being indisposed, his sister Sarah took care of him. In his younger days he spent more time on his back than on his feet.


His education was likewise hampered by his health. By the time he was fifteen he had barely finished sixth grade, not because he wasn't brilliant but because he was too weak to attend classes. With great effort he managed to graduate Junior High at eighteen. That was the extent of his formal schooling.

Fledgling Writer

For the sake of his health he heeded the call to "go west, young man, go west". He arrived in Hollywood with high hopes, only to be mugged at the Greyhound station. Undeterred, he got a bagging job at a supermarket and took typing lessons at night. He had discovered the joy of writing and he wanted nothing else in life than to make his living with his words. At first he tried writing screenplays. When nothing came of that he turned to novels, short stories, and memoirs of his grim childhood. He sent the manuscripts off to publishers and was heartbroken when his brainchildren came back adorned with standard rejection slips. He kept practicing, though. He taught himself to type faster and faster until he could turn out a full-length novel in days. Still, however, his efforts did not meet with success. What was he to do?

The Miracle

Then, miraculously, on a writers job board he discovered HubPages. He could write informative articles and get paid for it. This was what he had been looking for. He first wrote a human interest piece on his childhood. Then he wrote something about the difficulty of screenwriting. Ideas came to him one after another. He could scarcely type fast enough to write down everything that occurred to him. His whole life and everything he had ever learned poured forth in short, pithy articles of five hundred to one thousand words. He found himself writing two a day, then five a day, then ten a day. On one particularly fruitful day when he felt anointed as never before by his muse, he wrote and published twenty-seven articles. He was writing so many articles he separated his output into pseudonyms according to genre. He steadily published in seven different categories under seven names, and each category had several hundred entries, then a thousand, then several thousand.

Ongoing Story

By the time he hit profits of a million dollars he had twenty-seven thousand three hundred and forty-four articles published on HubPages. He could have retired and lived off the passive income, but he had never written solely for the money; he wrote because he loved to write. He continues to write Hubs to this day. His motto can be summed up thusly: "Always follow your dreams, and good things will happen."


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