hi friends. i have some really big news. like. h. u. g. e.
on friday, i got a contract to sign which will make me a freelance writer for an asheville newspaper!
i’m still a little bit in shock. i stare at the piece of paper which i am supposed to sign this weekend and take back next week, and i just can’t believe it. ok. i’ll back up and tell you how all this came about:
about three weeks ago, i wrote a blog post about an amazing day that i had... on that day, i met some inspiring locals when i was downtown, visited an amazing cafe, and then from out of nowhere got up enough courage to enter the building where my dream job is – as a member of the mountain xpress newspaper’s team. well, not only did i enter the building, i went upstairs, barged right into the receptionist’s office, and basically announced that i was here – ready to write for them, if they wanted me. the sweet receptionist gave me the editor’s name and email. and i immediately went to sit down and compose an introduction and pitch myself as a freelancer. which i did.
well, nothing really came of that. i waited some days and then called and left a message on the editor’s phone, just to see if she had received my email and to show that i am seriously interested in working for the paper. but, nothing came of that either.
then… last week, my brother called me and told me that he saw an ad in this same newspaper for a food writer and some freelance positions. needless to say, qualified or not, i got right on that baby. and after 24 hours, i had emailed three creative article ideas, a cover letter, three clips of my writing, and my resume to the editor. whew.
well, of course, all y’all know that this was my birthday week, so that was my focus most of the days. of course, in the back of my mind i thought about my application and wondered what was going on, but i wasn’t too worried. i just let it be. but, by thursday, i began to wonder if i would hear anything or not. i was actually waiting for an email to say “thanks for your application, but we have already filled those positions”. but, i got nothing.
and then, friday i decided that i would contact the newspaper “just to check” to make sure they had received all my application things. (read: find any reason to contact them and show my interest & see the status of my application).
however, i thought that instead of calling and perhaps just leaving a message = having to to keep waiting to hear something, i would go to the offices. again. so, i did.
i went into the receptionist’s office and told her that i had sent in all of my application requirements a week ago and just wanted to make sure that they had received them. she said she’d go check, and was gone. she came back one time to check on my name again. and then, the second time she returned, there was someone else with her, who shook my hand, introduced herself as the managing editor, and invited me into her office. what?!
in the office, we talked about my fika project, and the editor said that she was interested in seeing how the paper could use my project as a series – a shortened version, we decided. the editor also said she was interested in my theological background, explaining that their spiritual section of the paper was pretty small, but that the guy who focuses on that only does it part-time and would probably like some help. so, she told me to write up a little teaser/introduction to my fika project and bring it to her next week, along with my signed freelance contract. in addition, she told me to go ahead and be thinking of some spiritual/faith ideas for stories, perhaps find people to interview & feature. so, i have an assignment. i have a story to pitch, and others to begin thinking about.
it was all so amazing and crazy! i couldn’t believe it. here i was, no journalism degree at all, chasing my dream, and seeing possibilities just open right in front of me. and it all felt so right. i was in this building, where i stood just a month before, dreaming of a chance to write for this paper. and here i was now, discussing payments per word and what might happen if/when i become a regular contributor to the paper. unbelievable. unbelieveable. unbelievable.
and what makes it even better is that this is not just any kind of regular newspaper, it is specifically geared to local stories, culture, the arts, and diversity. (click here to see the online version at mountainx.com) so, i sat there in the editor’s, tattoos and all, married to a woman and all, knowing that, in this place, my voice was welcomed because it was my voice – i was not judged for my beliefs, my appearance, my marriage, etc. no one was. no one is. this is an atmosphere of acceptance, quirkiness, excellence, intelligence, thoughtfulness. it’s people-oriented. asheville-oriented. a newspaper that encourages community involvement and publishes stories that promote education, involvement, and creativity. and all of that is why i have dreamed of being a writer for this newspaper.
and now, it looks like i might be just that. eeeeek!!!
i’ve got a post coming up soon on following your dreams and being true to yourself, a common thread running through this blog. but, something that i need to do in order to help me process all that has happened. i truly believe that i am in some kind of shock. everything feels so natural and real and right. and yet, when i stop to think about it all, it blows me away. i question… is this really my life? and i am amazed over and over again. wow. what a birthday gift. yeah. 39… i love you so far.
i just wanted, no, needed, to share the news with all of you. because i am so excited, but more so, because you all have helped to create this dream and followed me as i continue to chase it. you all are so much a part of this journey of mine. i’m grateful to the point of a loss for words, so i’ll just say this: