Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Forbes and Marissa Meyer

Hey! This is good news I should have reported last week. My LearnVest piece about Marissa Meyer got reposted on Forbes and got a huge response. More than 88,000 views and I heard from people all over the place. It got Facebooked around like a kitten picture. Horribly, Forbes also neglected to put my byline on the piece, but it does come at the end, in a little blurb, so okay.

The comments were predictably depressing, but at least I was part of the conversation, and got to call her husband "hot-ass."

They did edit out the part where I said Meyer is a unicorn, and we should be more worried about the horses that actually need our attention; I liked pointing out that she's so rare as to actually seem mythical, but it was a little far-fetched.

I also said "we're all in this together," which is a direct reference to my darling, beloved, gorgeous Wendy Wasserstein in "The Heidi Chronicles." Here's the moment:
I don't blame the ladies in the locker room for how I feel. I don't blame any of us. We're all concerned, intelligent, good women. It's just that I feel stranded. And I thought the whole point was that we wouldn't feel stranded. I thought the whole point was we were all in this together. 
It didn't fit into the piece, but those who know will hear the echo. I hope.

this always happens.

okay, not always, but I am resisting a story because the way I pitched it now seems too simplistic (it's based on a press release, not enough THERE there, no meat, bad bad bad), but to put in the time to do it right will render it a loss (have not been able to scare up better info on the phone; will need to devote an afternoon to on-site reporting, sans kids, which negates the $ made).

I hate this.

Okay, back to trying to report it.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Know what I miss?

reporter's or reporters'? they're both correct, depending on context, dingus.
Reporters' notebooks.

I'm talking about these jammies. The ones I used, though, were not so crass as to announce themselves on the cover; they had the same basic, glossy cover as your average Spiral notebook, the kind you buy in a pack before each new semester of college. But the shape. 4x8 inches, tall and slim, gave me more go-get-'em-Scoops courage than ten press passes.

They honestly never made much sense. I am assuming they were originally created in that shape to fit into the breast pocket (some might call it a flask pocket) of a blazer, and they don't even put those pockets in womens' blazers. (Plus: who wears women's blazers?!) I'd been carrying notebooks for years before I was a reporter, in the service of being a standup comic, and for that I just carried a tiny notepad. Granted, I was writing fewer words that wouldn't have to be transcribed or fact-checked, but still: I knew, as I strode into Staples and picked up a megapack of these guys, that this wasn't a practical act. I had like 900 Steno pads stolen from temp jobs (the ones with the mint green paper and the little red line down the middle? Swoon).

(yeah, I may have a little office-supply problem. Yeah, I might.)

 Anyway. The point is, these were as much a part of my emotional preparation, going into a reporting situation (a Russian bath in Brooklyn, a boat to Ellis island packed with Jewish celebrities, the release of a G.I. Joe based on the standing Secretary of State), as pair of comfortable shoes, a cup of coffee, and a set of ready questions so I wouldn't be tongue-tied.

Yet it was surprising to me when people saw the notebook and said "Oh, here's the reporter." I can't tell you when I realized reporters had their own style of pad; I didn't think of it as a general cultural signifier. I was in a relationship with my notebook, it wasn't for the world to see. Except it was; people recognizing it gave me an additional charge, a jolt of self-confidence.

I see now there are moleskine reporters' notebooks. What. The fudge. No WAY would I carry one of those! Ah, but I don't carry the real thing anymore, either. The most important interviews, I capture on a digital recorder. When I take notes, I grab whatever half-empty notebook is handy, most often one that was given out free at a press event (read: cocktail party my friends and I took as an excuse to meet up). Or I do my interviews over the phone, so I can type my notes in garbled, but more accurate and harder to lose, format.

Maybe I've gone soft. Or I've moved on to a different kind of reporting. Or both! But the sight of these little soldiers makes me feel all gooey inside. They bring to my memory the urgency of hurrying through an unfamiliar neighborhood, peering at building numbers, trying to soak up local color while staying focused on the story at hand. Jotting down possible other stories (what's that cool blue house? There's a puppet theater -- here?!) on the way.

I'm not even tempted to buy a set - I don't want to dilute those memories.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Six Words Approacheth

Jeesh. My pal Jessica brought me to a very cool literary event, schmoozing with famous writers, part of the Litquake party. Actually, they were all people I've schmoozed with anyway, fancy fancy me, but I still had an amazing time. But. I also was reminded, because I kept talking about it, that Six Words is coming up THIS THURSDAY, and now I'm getting nervous.

I like being nervous, but I really want to do well, so I should also rehearse. I also would love to get my hair did, but I just got the car's brakes did, and that kind of means the bank account also got did. So I didn't. Get my hair did.

I did, however, write some pretty funny stuff for, as well as some procrastinatey comments on the Motherlode blog that I REALLY HOPE the world gets to see. It was pretty much the same as my recent post on PeeGee, but nobody sees that, so.

All right. Back to work. Also I have color on my head for like an hour longer than I'm supposed to and I think it's settled in my lungs.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Deadlines Alive!

I had a devastating series of missed deadlines a few weeks ago that I thought I'd never recover from. Clients are like boyfriends in a weird way. I mean, you have a bunch of them, so maybe they're like ... uh ... maybe I'm like a whorey ... wait. I'm-a start over.

I missed a bunch of deadlines for a client I absolutely adore, and I was devastated over it. Just gutted. I hated letting them down, and worse, I feared they'd dump me, because I kind of deserved it. My writing's good, but not good enough to justify missed deadlines. I was so pissed at myself.

I had tried to shift over from Google Calendars to this thing called Cozi and for some reason I didn't get it all entered right, so I didn't get the reminders I depend on. THat was the whole point of ditching Google Calendars -- sometimes their stupid reminders get borked for no reason -- so it wasn't working for me. Honestly, I think some of this was user error, but I don't use an online shared calendar because I'm a super-genius at figuring stuff out; I use it because I'm an overwhelmed multitasker who can't hold a calendar's hand.

Anywho, now that I've upgraded my computer and my phone -- via the Genius Bar, for free, so easy, THANK YOU GENIUS BAR -- I can use iCloud and for the first time I'm using iCal for this crap. I figured out how to have it text me reminders, which was the whole reason I started using Google Calendars in the first place. Here's what I did:

Figured out the email-to-text address for my carrier
Entered that into the "email" field for the iCal alert

DONE AND DONE. Actually there were a few more steps, but that's the gist of it, and it's beautiful.

The other thing I did was, with this one client, when I submit one article, I confirm the due date of the next one. THAT has been what really helps, and I recommend it highly.