Archive for May, 2007
This was live on G4’s Attack of the Show last night, and yeah, that’s me, co-lead blogger of WoW Insider. Was lots of fun– my editor emailed looking for someone to do it, and eventually no one else jumped on it, so he passed it to me. I’m especially happy that I got to wear the t-shirt that my cousin made for our family (no one asked me where they could buy one, but they can’t!), as well as my favorite jacket from Target. Plus, I’m really glad I didn’t look too bad– I spent a lot of time in the studio (it was via satellite from downtown Chicago) making sure I didn’t look like a complete dork.
Of course, I was talking about games, so that was kind of unavoidable. I stumbled around a little bit, but hopefully I did pretty well for a first time. No idea if anyone’s ever going to ask again, but I’m here if they need me.
And this is cool, too– it’s the cover from the story I did last week for Newcity about stand-up in Chicago.
Is that my name on the cover of an alternative weekly available right now for free throughout Chicago? It sure is.
That’s Josh Cheney, Mark Geary of the Lincoln Lodge, and Robert Buscemi, all extremely talented guys (Josh is headed out to LA this summer to write comedy, and Buscemi is already practically a legend around Chicago– here’s him telling the hilarious joke I wrote about in the article, and here’s him doing… well I have no idea what that is, but it’s really funny).
The photo’s taken by Audrey Cho, who I’ve never met, but who has now shot, I believe, at least two of my four cover stories for Newcity. Maybe three. She rocks.
So I’m real happy that both of those things came down last week. Here’s where I would usually tell you what I’m working on next, but I got nothing– keep checking back, I guess. Hopefully something fun will come up.
I went to bed very early last night– about 9:00 pm. I know, it might not be very early for you, but it was for me, and it was a strange experience. I haven’t been sleeping much lately, so after a not-so-great day yesterday I decided to just call it quits early on. My body seemed kind of surprised to get so much sleep, however, so it was an interesting night. I woke up at midnight, and again at 4, and again at 6, and so on– and dreamed the whole time.
But even though that sounds like I tossed and turned, I didn’t. It was actually very relaxing. Lately, I’ve been stressing a lot about time: I don’t seem to have enough of it. I’m run off my feet everywhere I go– I need to wake up in the morning and run to be at work, and then I need to run home to get more writing done. I’ve got errands that I need to run on the weekend, and I’ve got deadlines that need to be met and email that needs to be replied to almost every hour of the day. My brother was just in town this past week, and while it was a pleasure to have him here, it turned out to be quite a drain on my time– I had to get all of my usual work done, and make sure I spent time with him as well.
So that’s why, when I had to give my parents a gift, but had left the card for it in St. Louis, I was surprised to find myself there. I was sitting in my old bedroom, with their wrapped gift and their card in front of me, and I signed it with a greeting and my name. I had been hoping to drop the gift and card off and then get back to Chicago without them realizing I’d been there, but I heard my mother at my bedroom door, and it was too late– she opened it to see me in her house.
She was happy to see me (and even happier that I’d brought the gift and the card), but she was concerned that I’d made the trip down to Chicago on a weekday– didn’t I have to get to work? I looked at my watch, which, strangely enough, said 11:00 am. The reason that was strange was because I remembered having been in Chicago, picking out the gift, at 9 am. How could I have possibly made it to St. Louis in two hours?
This has been another time concern lately. I’ve been wanting to go back to St. Louis to see my parents (they just retired in January) and my friends, but the five hour drive not only means I have to go on the weekend, but also means my weekends are shot, not to mention my gas budget and sometimes my car (it’s broken down twice on trips there and back). So this was a very weird puzzle for me– how did I make it to St. Louis in two hours? And how would I get back in time for work? Any trip back would be at least five hours, which would mean I wouldn’t be able to show up at the office until 4, and while I can sometimes fudge it a half hour or so, showing up at 4 would not be a good idea for my continued employment.
So I sat in my bedroom in St. Louis while my mom questioned me and I thought– how had I made that trip in the two hours from 9 to 11? And then it came to me. I must have flown. Yes, that was it. I must have gone to the airport in Chicago, jumped on a plane, and then drove my car to their house in St. Louis. I would have had to be lucky (the plane must have taken off right as I sat down), but the timing worked out right. I definitely flew down to St. Louis that morning, and that’s how I made the trip in two hours. It must have cost me a bit of money, but it was a small price to pay for such a miraculous teleportation.
But wait. There was one more problem. How was I to get back? I distinctly remembered driving my car from the St. Louis airport to my house now, and there was no way I could get it back to Chicago with me on the plane, short of paying way too much money (in fact, there was no way I could have brought it down with me, but I couldn’t worry about that now, I had to get back to work). I could leave it in St. Louis, but that would just be a pain, having to take public transportation around Chicago all the time (not to mention that taking the train in from the airport might actually add the extra three hours on to my trip).
So how would I get back to Chicago? There seemed no way. This was a concern.
The trip back seemed almost as inexplicable as the trip coming. A two hour journey to St. Louis was a welcome change, but it wasn’t really worth it if I had to deal with all these complications– cars appearing in the wrong city, lots of money spent, and having to be back at work, five hours away, two if I flew, in a matter of minutes. I couldn’t even remember what the gift was at this point, and frankly, it didn’t seem very important. How was I going to get back to Chicago?
And then, gently, I realized I had gone to bed at 9 pm the night before. I realized that, to get back to Chicago, all I had to do was open my eyes.
I did. And I sat up, on my bed, back in my apartment in Chicago.
It was 9 am. I had slept for twelve hours. And dreamed the whole time.
I just finished a huge (huge!) article for Newcity, and I want to capture the feeling that I have at this moment.
I’ve been working on this thing for about two weeks. It’s about stand-up in Chicago, and I’ve gone around to about five different shows, and interviewed maybe eight or nine people– this is the biggest thing I’ve ever worked on. And I’ve been fretting the whole time. Like ulcer-creating worried about it.
One of the stand-up comics is a really talented guy who really cares about how stand-up does in Chicago. He works hard and really wants to see it take off. He told me he was really expecting big things of this article. That’s pressure. I was so worried that I wouldn’t live up to both the pressure of my subjects to represent them well, and the pressure of my readers to represent my subjects truly. Basically, I was freaking out. And considering this is the biggest thing I’ve ever professionally written, there was a lot of worrying that I would never get this done, and I’d disappoint not only my editor, but also everyone I interviewed that wanted to see what I thought of them.
And so when I got home tonight (tonight was the deadline), I was pretty worried. I tooled around on the internet for a few hours, just reading blogs, with my two Word documents in the background (one is where the texts of my interviews were, and the other is where my article was supposed to go). I tried listening to music, but nothing worked– it was either too distracting or too quiet. Eventually, I gave up and watched an episode of Heroes, fretting the whole time that I would waste my evening watching TV, never write the article, and ruin my career.
After the show ended (they saved the cheerleader), I went back to the computer and tried writing. I wrote a paragraph, deleted it, and cursed. I wrote another, deleted it, and cursed again. I wrote three, deleted them, and threw something. I read some more blogs. I wrote another paragraph, deleted it, threw my notes down, and cursed myself for ever thinking I could write this.
I’m never going to be a writer. I’m never going to deliver on this one. It’s over.
And then I started again, and I wrote a paragraph and it finally sounded honest and interesting. And I wrote some more, and included some bits of interviews, and edited a paragraph to make sure I got a point in that I wanted.
And then, suddenly (and this is the feeling I was talking about), it’s two hours later, and I’m hitting send on the email to my editor with a perfect, really long, touching and insightful, spell-checked and proofread article.
I literally (ha) have no idea where the time went, or what happened to me for the last two hours. I know I was sitting here at the computer as the sun went down, and there were two people playing basketball outside. I know I was typing, and copying and pasting and editing and changing and moving and reading. But I have no idea how I did it. I have no idea where this article came from or how it got on my screen.
Earlier this week, I was cursing myself for ever taking this assignment (it didn’t help that my tape recorder broke and I completely lost half my interviews on Monday). I was so pissed that it had taken over my life, and that I had invested so much time in it, because I knew that when the time would come for me to stop researching, taking up these nice people’s time with interviews, and actually pour out some insightful text, I wouldn’t be able to do it. I swore to myself that if I ever did finish this article, it would be the last long article I would ever do, because nothing was worth this.
But now, I feel awesome. I feel accomplished and fulfilled. I feel like every note, every interview, every minute of every night spent out watching stand-up, made it into the article and was worth it.
And this is what I really can’t believe, but it’s totally what I’m thinking right now: I can’t wait to do it again sometime.
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