Wednesday, May 02, 2012

On Assignment

Ok, so I know I said I was coming back, and it’s probably starting to look like I lied.  But I actually am still excited about posting here again, it’s just that I spent most of last week trying to determine if I regarded meeting back-to-back newspaper deadlines falling in the midst of a lot of school and home activity as glamorous as I apparently did in 2005.

In this early blog post, I giddily reported that I had been assigned a series of human interest stories in the middle of a heavily scheduled week.  The glamor factor rested in the fact that this was my inaugural foray into paid feature writing, and I was reveling in my new found ability to bandy around the phrase “I’m on assignment.”

Well, seven years later, I am still on assignment, albeit writing for a lesser publication than I started at in 2005, and, flush with yearning and angst after a heavy dose of Kerouac novels, I have to ask myself if the situation is satisfactory; if, indeed, I still get that rush from finding the narrative in the local news beat.

I have to admit that my first thought was a probable no, considering that I haven’t broken into the premium markets and I’m still trying to find captivating angles through which to twist topics like salad and dentistry into meaty, journalistic pieces—and for a paycheck that has shrunk in proportion to publication prestige. 

But after looking back a bit to my circumstances at the time of the 2005 post, I realized just how very different things actually are.  Back then, the grades I was being pressed to calculate were evaluating the renderings of elementary art students with no more than a stale BA in Psychology on my educational resume.  Today, I am awarding or denying college credit to 45 students as I grade my freshman comp papers.  Seven years ago, I had never had a regular writing gig.  Today, I have around 100 feature stories under my by-line with two respected, albeit local, publications. And with my amassed clips and dose of that Kerouac-inspired passion I can still pitch those big publications.

It became clear that there’s still a story arc here.  I’m still in the game, and having fun.  My story is still in progress—and, yes, I have some chapters waiting to be logged here.  It will happen.  But now—I have 15 more papers waiting to be graded, and an interview to schedule for my next story.  After all, I’m on assignment.

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