If I had a dime for every hour I’ve spent resenting and dreading what I have just finished doing, I would likely be a richer hummin’ bean than I will be when the check for said dread’s happy outcome arrives in the mail in a few weeks. Most writing assignments affect me this way. If I could channel angst into action the way methane is transformed into a lovely blue flame with the touch of a burning match, I would be more than a writer, I would be Sarah Silverman.
It’s all over an article and the weeks of uncertainty over what I would write, the missed deadline because my employer had a death in his family and I was required to keep my hand on the tiller while he was away from the helm, hours of problem recognition and not a nano-second of problem solving until . . . . . . . . with the exception of some initial effort engaged in March and a smidgen more early this week . . . . . . this action-packed day.
My editor — if he had known what condition my condition was in — would have likely pulled me off the assignment and told me to remove his contact information from the Rolodex of my bren. But I kept a confident pose and while my outlook on life in general was akin to the rotating tank on the back of a cement truck, pulled off the ruse, which by any other name is still a ruse. The sweet smell of pretense. I had to have the story in my 5 p next Monday. On May 9 I decided to send it in on Friday, the 13th.
I didn’t really begin to enjoy writing the story until about 3 p Thursday. It was coming together in bits and pieces, not yet having a perceived conclusion or even order. The most important task is always to get the information into malleable form. Get the facts into a Word file!
How the hael did I ever write an article before computers? I don’t remember the details, but at one time, I seriously considered marrying my blue Smith Corona. Then I left it for an IBM Selectric with the type ball that allowed me to work in Pica or Elite. I preferred Elite because the type was smaller, and I could write a 20-page term paper in 15 pages.
Resolution and happiness comes, if not from the interview process, for sure from the successful completion of the transcription of most of the interviews; getting it into a Word file. So it did with me. The transition from Muller’s Day to Journalist’s Day came as I departed the office for the second photo session of the day, secure and content in the knowledge that most of the facts were in that repository of pieces of a not-yet-crafted bucket of words.
By 6 pm it was coming together and I was having fun — I mean genuinely enjoying LIFE — for the first time in this process. By 8:30, I had written, proof-read it and sent it to the editor, just 12 and a half hours after arriving here at the airport office. Muller’s Day had come to an end.
Tomorrow morning I will process the pictures — probably seven or so of the best — and send them to the editor with caption information. But there’s no dread over pictures. Sure, I sweat nurturing a pot roast to pink-in-the- middle perfection, but pictures are the gravy, the savory essence that compliments the meat but doesn’t overpower it. Tomorrow I may darn near laugh to myself as I put a ribbon on this hoe down.
For now, I’m going to boogie home, eat some grapes, some Peter Pan chunky on a butter knife and quaff the Carlo Rossi Burgundy as much as I care to. This is my traditional “dinner after 9″ and it works okay. It’s a humble repast but hey . . . . . .
I am my mother’s humble, lucky son.
Live long . . . . . . . . . . . . and proper.