One of my articles was in the paper the other day. It was received pretty well. So much so that a couple of things have happened as a result.
First of all, it looks like I’m going to be on the radio. A producer got in touch with me and wants to have me as a guest on a relatively popular radio show to debate the contents of my article. I was shocked when I got the email. It definitely came as a surprise. I guess part of me wasn’t convinced that people actually read my stuff.
There are so many interesting articles on any given day in a good newspaper that I always assumed that my stuff got lost in the bigger news. It’s really flattering to think that not only did someone influential read what I wrote, they have decided to act on it and have a debate around my ideas. It’s a very gratifying thing to have happen.
The other thing is that an executive of a pretty big organisation emailed to congratulate me on the same piece. I got chatting to his assistant, and I might even get to meet him. I wonder if I should mention that I’m not formally employed and that if he offers me a decent job I will probably take it. Nah…I’ll play it cool, dress up for the occassion, and pretend that I’m in my element and that things are going very well for me, thank you very much! Just meeting someone of that caliber will be an fantastic.
All that out of an article that I wrote in the library. Maybe I should go to the library more often. Who knows, next time I write something there, someone might offer to buy me a car! If that’s you, my contact details are available on this website. Everybody is allowed to dream, right?
Thank God for the big and small things that make life so worth living.
I’ve now had an article in the paper with my headshot there with it. I opened this national daily and in it saw my photograph there and my name in bold. You’d think that I would be happy wouldn’t you?
I’m not happy at all. In fact, I’m terrified. I feel naked. It’s as though I’ve been exposed to the country and my thoughts can be scrutinised by anyone. It’s not a comfortable place for me to be in. It’s strange. I’m a bit of an attention seeker ordinarily.
According to my DiSC profile, one of my weaknesses is my need for others’ approval. Although I try to look at both sides of an argument, I tend to take one side and hold onto it strongly. Maybe my weird reaction to having my thoughts out there is that I know I’m bound to offend people.
Maybe it gets easier. I guess I’ll find out when the next one gets published. I just need to come up with something to write about. Writer’s block is real.
I submitted my third article to an editor on Sunday. My wife, Becky, read it and thought it was just okay. So when Monday came and went without a response, I worried that the editor agreed with her.
I hate waiting. I spent a lot of yesterday checking my email every 20 minutes or so. I get so unproductive – it’s silly. To use Becky’s phrase, when I get a bee in my bonnet, there’s no getting rid of it. I know the smart thing is to just get on with life and write something else, but for some reason, I find that really hard. Oh well…
I recently came across this poem, A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes:
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
I’m not really into poetry, mainly because I often just don’t get it. I really like this one though. Apparently, it’s (South Africa’s president) Thabo Mbeki’s favourite. I know I’m blowing things a little out of proportion, but waiting to find out the fate of that article, the poem grew in meaning for me.
I got my first article published… in a national paper!
It’s such a weird feeling! On the hand, I was so excited last night, I couldn’t wait to get up and buy the paper. When I opened it up and saw my name there, in bold no less, I was deflated! Even now, I feel lethargic. I feel exposed, naked and I can’t take the piece back. I feel committed, like my fate is out of my hands. What if some psychopath takes offense at what I wrote and hunts me down?
The last time I felt like this was after I proposed to my then girlfriend (now wife) and she said yes! She was so excited and the happier she got, the darker the cloud over me grew. It was one of the worst days of my life. Again, I felt trapped and as though I was no longer in control of my destiny. And it’s not as though I didn’t want to marry her. I knew she was the one, I knew I wanted to marry her, and I hadn’t been under any pressure to propose. All the same, the fear! Fortunately, I felt great at our wedding!
But back to this issue, I got what I wanted and had something I wrote printed in a newspaper. I don’t know if the article is any good. I know I liked it a lot more before it was published. I wonder if it’s always going to be like this.
Who knows, next time I might even get paid. When that happens, I’ll start calling myself freelance/independent writer/journalist. Or maybe I’ll just stick to Tsuro.