History of the Author – Part Three

Posted on March 16, 2010. Filed under: About Me, My Writing | Tags: , , , , |

Surgery is not fun business. My mom’s currently ensconced in her darkened bedroom, curled up in bed under covers and a robe, trying to sleep off the rest of the nasty anesthesia medications she received yesterday.

I’ve been trying to help, but it’s hard to know what’s best to do. My dad hovers like crazy, trying to make sure she’s got everything she needs, and my grandparents are making sure to have food cooked and talking to her when she’s downstairs.

Eventually it’ll be just me and mom when the grandparents go home and dad has to go back to work. Maybe then I’ll feel more useful than I do now.

Anyway, today is Tuesday, so it’s time for:

History of the Author

We’ve covered a bit about my creative writing past, but I’ll bet you didn’t know that before I graduated college I had a double major. For those of you who don’t know, I majored in something called “enterprise management.” And while I like to crack jokes that my major qualifies me to captain the Starship Enterprise, it really only qualifies me to do some general management and entrepreneurship.

But before I finished that major, on a lark, I decided it would be fun to double major in journalism as well. Let me back up a step, though.

In my junior year of high school, I joined the newspaper class. I liked writing and didn’t have many opportunities to practice otherwise, so I figured it would be fun to join the newspaper class. The blissful thing about this was that high school newspapers are generally nothing like real, for-profit newspapers. By senior year, I was the only senior in the class and was elected by the older group to be the editor-in-chief.

Jump to sophomore year of college: I remembered how much fun writing was but didn’t want to deal with all the excess general education classes I’d have to take for a regular B.A. degree, so I jumped into some basic journalism classes. It was a whole different world.

I went from writing cutesy stories about new high school principals (i.e. “The Big Red Dog Meets The Big Blue Beaver” – yes, an actual article title for the school paper) to learning about AP Style and carrying the hallowed handbook around. I learned editing tips and the key to writing concise sentences. (I obviously don’t use that rule here!)

What were the results of this year and a half excursion down the journalism major road? Published writing.

Yes, that’s right. I can claim to have been published and not just in some two-bit high school newspaper. Or even in some online college newspaper, though I was published there as well. I scored, through a fair bit of serendipity, an internship with a local community newspaper that lasted a year.

I’ve got piles and piles of newspapers under my desk that I kept on the off chance I’d need them for a portfolio. There are articles about churches and red lights, volunteer fire departments, and giant garage sales, all stacked in the pages of these newspapers. For what it’s worth, the papers are widely read around here and are distributed once a week.

I got very used to working under a deadline, and I really fell quite in love with it. Interviewing is a breeze, and while I worked for the paper, I got the chance to interview a local talk show host who complimented my interview skills. He mentioned I had a knack for turning an interview into a comfortable conversation.

And my work with the newspaper wasn’t without its adventures.

It came with a side job of organizing the high school intern program. During the summer, we had about 15 high school juniors and seniors (and one sophomore, I believe) who joined us and wrote pieces on their excursions learning about the world around them.

Long story short? I was almost required to catch a fainting boy when he passed out in a hospital during a tour. I started to grab him because he looked rather pale and was swaying with these very vague, unfocused eyes. When he fell, I and two orderlies who happened to be walking by, managed to grab him before he could hit the ground.

And let’s also not forget: that was the job where I learned about lecherous old men.

“Excuse me, sir? I was wondering if you could come with me to get that picture of you in front of your painting?”

“Of course. I’ll come with you, but it’ll cost you.”

I studiously ignored that last comment and walked into the library with the man whose hand rode dangerously low on my back. I took a step to the side; he followed. We arrived in front of the painting.

“I told you it would cost you.” A pause for effect. “The cost is seduction.”

Needless to say I didn’t stay at the library much longer.

On the bright side, though, my venture into the journalism world also landed me a freelance writing position for a few months. Nothing big, mind you, but enough to get my writing out in bright, shiny publications.

What about you? Have you had any jobs that bring back savory and not-so-savory memories? What about serendipitous positions? Tell me about it!


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