Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Very News 2 Christmas

My journalism student, Ashley Cline, wrote a Christmas Carol for me! 
It is about writing an assignment for our News 2 class at Rowan University.

Enjoy and hum along!

T’was the night before deadline and all through the house, 
Frantic fingers tapped the keys and clicked on the mouse.
Notes were strewn across the desk without a single care, In hopes that
a nutgraph soon would be there.

The sources were nestled all snug in their beds 
While visions of  retractions danced in Journo’s head.
 And editors getting nervous, and Journo needing a nap
 Will never finish this STORY, wait why’s that in CAPS?

 When out on the desktop there arouse such a clatter
 Journo minimized Word to see what was the matter.
 Away to Facebook student flew like a flash, 
Closed out of Twitter and clicked on the dash.

 The notification square on the little blue globe 
Let Journo realize, “I’m not forever alone!”
 When, what to the wandering eye should appear 
But a much needed video of a kitten’s cute cheer.

 With over a million Youtube hits
Journo knew in a moment, “this must be legit.”
More adorable than babies and time passing quick 
Youtube became priority and Journo a lunatic.

Now laughter, now distraction, now diversion and recreation!
To the top of the search bar, to the most watched clips Now watch all
the videos, watch all the contents.

As it so often does, minutes began to fly by 
And Journo sat on Youtubenot minding the time.
So up until midnight, the Interwebs chugged 
And produced content unrelated to the story’s slug.

And then in a second, of mental reprieve 
Youtube gave way to Twitter and memes.
As the clock continued to wind down and down 
Journo’s story sat out yet another round.

Having only 100 words, with a sidebar still due The Internets, 
Journo would soon come to rue.
A bundle of quotes, thrown out and ignored 
With deadline approaching as well as the morn.

The lead— how it lacked and used a cliché
 The following paragraphs in disarray!
The sole little byline, italicized for show 
The headline wouldn’t stick, not even with Velcro!

The coffee cup clanking, and hitting Journo’s teeth 
Alerted, the student knew that there’d never be sleep.
Youtube and Twitter and Facebook all closed 
As Journo opened the story and dawn arose.

A quick study and pumped, filled up with coffee 
Journo set out to finish writing the story.
 A blink of the eyes and a crack of the knuckles 
Alerted Microsoft Word that it was time to hustle.

Speaking not a word and without going berserk
 Journo soon sorted through all the paperwork.
 Sources were quoted and facts were made clear 
It appeared as though Journo had nothing to fear.

Reread and revised, the article was written and set 
Meeting deadline Journo succeeded, defying all bets.
But with a sigh, Journo swore, “never again will I procrastinate”
Then looked at the calendar and said “When’s my next deadline? Oh yeah, that can wait.”

Monday, March 19, 2012

"How Did I Get Here?"

In the car, driving on Tyson Avenue, coming back from the doctor.

 "How did I get here?" Dad asked.

 "Where? Tyson Avenue? I didn't want to take Bustleton the whole way," I said.

"No, to this place I'm at," Dad said.

 Ah, a more existential "How did I get here," coupled with memory loss. He meant how did he wind up in an assisted living home.

 "Well, you were having trouble with the steps in your house. You kept winding up in the hospital for your tube and bag (catheter). You fell down the steps. You weren't eating right. And you didn't like being alone," I answered.

 I left out the part about him being robbed in the middle of the night.

"Oh, I see," he said.

 "You were very stubborn," I told him. "You didn't want to leave your house. You told me 'They are gonna have to carry me out of here!'"

 "I did?" he asked.

 "Oh yes," I said. "You did. But you like where you are. You like your room and TV and the meals and the nurses."

 "That's true," he said.

 "It was just hard getting you there," I said.

 "I am sorry about all that," Dad said. "I'll remember you in heaven," he joked.

"That's good, Dad, but while you are up there, send me some winning lottery numbers, too," I said. "That would be a bigger help."

"I'll see what I can do," Dad said.

Life As A Sandwich

Here is an essay I wrote for "Rowan Glassworks," the graduate literary magazine at Rowan University. It's about being part of the "sandwich generation" - women who care for their young children as well as their elderly parents. My essay starts on Page 9:

They asked the writers to reflect on their essays:
"Life as a Sandwich" My essay, "Life As a Sandwich," came out of my daily experience caring for my young son and my elderly father. The phrase "sandwich generation" is often bandied about as an apt description for those of us who care for children and parents at the same time. I remember thinking to myself: "This is a rotten sandwich."I just re-read the essay and am struck how honest and blunt I was. That is how I am as a journalist, but I usually write about things from my own life with a veil of humor. I am glad this essay came out as raw as it did. Clearly, I needed to say it. And people in my life needed to hear it.

An Open Letter

To Rutgers-Camden I wrote this essay for WHYY/Newsworks a few weeks ago about the proposed merger between Rutgers-Camden and Rowan Universities. The Newsworks editor already had an essay from a Rutgers-Camden prof. He needed one from a Rowan prof and asked a fellow journalist friend if she knew anyone to write it. I volunteered to do so.

Boy, was that a mistake!

I learned two things: The faculty at Rutgers-Camden are too angry to appreciate my sense of humor and they don't appreciate the word "cooties." Oh and a couple of the faculty are jerks. That is the third thing.

Well, you can read all that in the comments below the essay. However, I like the essay and am proud of it. I meant everything I said and I was a lone Rowan voice in all this anti-merger furor. There was a legislative hearing today about the merger. Maybe we will all know something soon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

An Ode to My 20s

I like these scrunchy ankle boots
I like Philadelphia
I miss Villanova
Do I like this guy?
Should I date this guy?
When will he call?
Screw it, I will call him.
He wasn't home.
Fuck him, I am going out dancing!
The Cure
I like this guy
I love this guy
He dumped me
I hate myself
I hate my body
I will  now call all my friends and cry
More crying
Feeling better
Fuck him, I am going out dancing!
I like myself
I like writing
I love writing
Why the hell are my parents so weird?
I like this guy
But I also like THIS guy
I will date both these guys!
Wait a minute, they both came to see me tonight at my apartment!
At the same time!
I think I will drink this whole bottle
Pick one guy
That was wrong
Pick the other guy
Move to a new apartment
Then another
I love him
He loves me
He dumps me
Call all my friends and cry
Write more
Work more
Why won't they fucking edit my story already so I can GO HOME?
Oh my God. It's the copy desk calling at 11 p.m.
The mall
Move to a new city
New job
Move again to another city
New job
New friends
Lots of friends
Is every single one of my friends getting married?
Bridesmaid seven times
Sang "Ave Maria"
Sang it again
And again
I like this guy
Now this guy
I hate him
I hate myself
Write a personal ad
A lot
This time, I do the dumping
More writing
Am I any good at this?
Am I any good as a writer?
As a journalist?
I just wish I knew
Maybe I stink at this
I think I stink at this
No, I am good at this
My boobs look good
My boss hates me
Insomnia Anxiety Depression Therapy
No more beer
No more guys who make me cry
I like myself more now
I can write
Fuck it, I am gonna sing show tunes!

(My birthday is coming up soon. While I am not all that thrilled to be aging or to be over 40, there are MANY aspects of being older that are great. For one thing, a lot less angst! I know who I am, and what I am capable of, and how strong I am. I know I will survive. Hey, hey.)