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News at 8

Monday, January 27, 2014

Promised news about how I got to be a published writer--that Holy Grail of any kid who has been bitten by the writing bug at the age of ten. It do take a while, folks. And I have SparkPeople to thank, for providing a nice, private place to blog away in peace. I got to indulge myself, for years inflicting tales (often having nothing to do with diet or exercise, sometimes having to do with cats and socks) on other people. They seemed to like what they read, but I felt like it could have been the "American Idol" effect. "But all my friends and family TOLD me I was great!"

Anyhow, a local editor wrote a column a couple of weeks ago, seeking people with an opinion on just about anything to participate in his roundtable. The first discussion would be about a specialty of mine: the construction industry. (Sherri or Scooter could have handled that one, but me??) I'd already fired several pieces over the local paper's transom, but this guy was brave enough to provide his email address, so I bit. I wrote that I didn't know a thing about his topic at hand, but had a few opinions, one of them having to do with local handymen and many having to do with local restaurants.

Lo and behold, he phoned me. I almost didn't pick it up because I didn't recognize the caller ID. For a while, this lovely southern gentleman newspaperman and I chatted about my renegade handyman, Rodney; I sent him the blog I'd written about our encounter with said Rodney; and he revealed that he was looking for someone to take over the paper's weekly restaurant column, "Side Dish." The girl who was writing it (whose writing I admire, no less) just "wasn't getting it," and they wanted STORIES about PEOPLE, nothing to do with food, service, prices, general review crap. This I took as a challenge, scampered out and interviewed a local chef we know, and sent it off as a writing sample. I thought it was brilliant, it brought Bill and me to tears every time we read it, but one never knows.

Before I knew it, newspaper editor calls me to come in for an interview. "We like your writing," he says. I'm thinking, "This man must be mistaken, but I'll drink this in while I can." He goes, "If we get the green light, we'll take your picture, give you a contract, and you'll be on the front page once a week, but you'll need to be able to meet deadline. Oh, and people will know you." Oh sweet Jesus God in Heaven and all the saints and apostles.

I took this rather seriously. To fend off the gods of bad luck, I quickly wrote another piece about a local dive bar, worked on interviews at three other joints, just to have more pieces "in the can," and agreed. I felt like Louisa May Alcott.

Such a strange turn of events. My first story, about Rodney, hit the paper this morning. And guess who was featured in today's police blotter?

Bill is locking all the doors and windows.
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