$Texas, Journalism, Uncategorized

Making a living

“it’s so exciting to know a real live journalist,” read the message.

Truthfully, I didn’t know how to respond.

Yes, I had felt like a real journalist at times throughout the past six years, but I realized that I had never before felt like a real, live journalist.

Silly rhetoric on her part, probably, but it got to the heart of the matter: I finally feel alive in this profession.

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Me Myself and Ty, Politics, Uncategorized

Bunforgivable

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It’s not what you think!

Today I did a terrible thing.

After weeks of Chick-fil-A overexposure due to a media firestorm the likes of which real press coverage could only hope to match, I was hungry today.

I wanted it.

I wanted the deep fried chicken breast. The two pickles. The warm bun.

I wanted that sandwich.

Continue reading

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DRIVEN, It's in the vault, Me Myself and Ty, Uncategorized

Deer and loathing

A bit dark and gory after the jump, so proceed with caution.

Humanity has never gripped me like it did that night as I screamed into the lonesome night at a creature that had no more a mind to understand me than it did body able enough to escape me.

I had pointed my flashlight up and down the road at least half a dozen times, both praying no headlights would appear to guest star in my late night grapple with mortality and its intersection with morality while at the same time wishing some grown-up would show up — my dad preferably — to solve the situation I found myself in.

The road is a popular drag for speeders, especially since it runs right behind the high school. If you wanted to show off your car’s acceleration, this was the strip to do it. I vaguely remember riding along with one such crazy adolescent as we passed an assumed adversary on the road, topping 80 or 90 mph down the long, straight two-lane drive.

I, of course, wasn’t going nearly that fast on this night. Maybe five or 10 over, but mostly because this was the final two miles of a seven-hour trip and I badly needed to use the bathroom.

The first doe darted out confidently. I had no chance of ever hitting her, but I slammed on my brakes anyway to avoid what was sure to be the rest of her nocturnal grazing party.

And then there he was, taking a 45 degree angle to the road as if he was going to rush me off of the left side of the road.

I merged left to avoid him, but he refused to stop, choosing instead to barrel into the side of my car.

I shook the steering wheel steadily to keep myself straight, but hardly had to slow down at all.

I didn’t even stop. “No time for that now,” I thought, pining for my bed while looking over at my antenna, which now looked like a crumpled pipe cleaner tossed to the side from some craft project.

The radio hadn’t even skipped for a moment. That’s curious.

“Dammit my side view mirror is gone!” said the voice in my head, finally realizing there was something missing from my car like the final answer in some Sunday comics picture challenge.

I’ll have to go back for it.

But I knew there was one more thing I would need to go back to, as well.

This had happened before, of course. Continue reading

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Don't Call it a Farewell, DRIVEN, Journalism, Uncategorized

It’s in the Vault: Tall tale

My long-term absence will be explained in a future post.

When I got started in journalism, it wasn’t because I wanted to be a journalist.

It was because I wasn’t good enough to play sports at school anymore, so I sought a way to stay connected to them any way I could. Daniel Ellis invited me to attend a sports section meeting with him, and from then, I was sold.

Which is surprising, since I started out in the undesirable beats – for instance, covering our volleyball team which was riding a conference losing streak of more than 30 games.

Of course, I love volleyball, so it wasn’t really a stretch to stay interested, but there was also the spandex and the tall females I got to talk to on a weekly basis…

Maybe it wasn’t surprising, but regardless, I wouldn’t allow myself to date any of them.

I say that now and pretend like I was being an objective journalist with integrity, but it’s only because I was too afraid of them rejecting me to even ask. Continue reading

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Me Myself and Ty, Uncategorized

Runnin’ on empty

So, I’m not sure how other newspapers work, but at the ones I’ve worked at, producing content has always been a maniacal planning game.

You brainstorm story ideas, assign them knowing only 70% will be done, with 25% of those being dropped due to lame excuses and the other 5% coming in a day later than you needed it.

Occasionally I found myself playing a numbers game. I would assign several stories all due on one day like a month away. All of the writers were down with that deadline, since they had an entire month to screw it up, so I would end up with like seven stories all “coming in” on one magical day, even when I knew four would suffice along with whatever breaking news came up between assignment day and “coming in” day.

Then, when 70% came in I had enough to put together a decent paper because I had overbudgeted. It was a fun method I discovered through trial and error and the two times it worked, I had bonus stories rolling in for a week as that other 25% rolled in. I had excess content and life was good. Goddammit I love bonus stories.

But, as I said, that only happened like twice. Ever.

Most of the time, I spent my news career running on empty. No content. No “real” news. The knowledge that if the writer doesn’t hand in her story I’m going to have to write two to replace it along with the impending decision on whether I should write those two stories or just hop in my car and drive as far away from the office as I can…

And that’s how I feel like I’m living now: emptily. It seems like every day I wake up and I have just enough energy to get myself through classes, work, breathing and finally back to bed. If anything bad happens, like I don’t get a fork with my lunch or I remember some assignment I had forgotten about, I’m faced with a decision to either press on or run away. Recently, I’ve considered running. One moment can make me feel like my entire life has been derailed and I can’t conceive any way to get it back on track that doesn’t involve alcohol or sleep.

I know I’m over school, and this final semester will be both my easiest academic endeavor and my most challenging, but shouldn’t there be something else to get me through this besides wanting to graduate? I’ve never needed so much motivation before.

Life just feels more lonely than it used to and I really want a bonus story.

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