Ok, as we all know, I like to go long. Yep. Whether it’s stories about movers or the rollercoaster that is my life, I always involve plenty of detail and it’s rather colorful to read.
For the last three weeks in Journalism 102 (that’s News Reporting and Writing for you non-collegians out there) I’ve been sitting through lectures and discussions on writing leads. Now as I covered a few posts ago, news leads, whether they are blind or whathaveyou are always 30 words or less and no more than one or two sentences. ME? One or two sentences? The girl who had to take over eight hours to edit down her 10 page paper in Composition 102 from 16 pages to 14 to 12 to finally 10 pages? Me? Go short? Just the facts and no embellishment or color? Oh gods! How was I going to do that?
Now enter our newest character to the Sophomore, my adorable 102 professor, Prof H. You guys know I never reveal true identities, gotta keep those great professors of mine under wraps and of course, I’m also protecting the innocent, I don’t want to get them in trouble.
Well, as we all know, I love, love, LOVE my Comp 102 and English 231 professor Doc T. Oy, that man is the kittens whiskers when it comes to writing. *Swooooon* I shall be first in line to get a copy of the novel he’s writing. The man has such style. But he moved to Chicago *pout* to be a lecturer at Chicago University, and heaven knows, he deserves every good thing. If he could get me, in two semesters, to have meaning, sense and clarity in everything I write, and on top of that, have it be brief, the man deserves more than a cookie because he achieved the near to impossible with me.
Enter Prof H. First day out of the gate, what does he do? He channels Doc T with three simple words: Meaning, Sense and Clarity. When he recited Doc T’s mantra, I was sold, he had my full and undivided attention. Come to find out, Mr. Superstar is well versed and has worked hard in the field of advertising…ok, now I like him more. I’m more than positive he’ll be right up there next to Doc T by the end of the semester.
But, we’ve got to get to the part where the major triumphs come in. Ok, first out of the gate, which resulted in some dancing in the hallway, some “in the car seat” boogeying and a frantic phone call to my WoW hunter pal Chance squealing with joy…
I WROTE A 30 WORD LEAD. Yes, that’s right, cheer with me! I did it! Not a word more, not a word less, it was 30 words exactly, gave the w/w/w/w/w/h….(by the way, we’ll be seeing that a lot this semester…it’s shorthand for who/what/when/where/why/how) and I flipped out as I read it because for me, Ms. Flourish, Color and Darling-Crazy (a darling is a great phrase that you’re in love with because it’s well worded) can’t put together a well rounded thought unless it’s a million words long. It’s ok, laugh with me, I know it’s ridiculous.
How did I get so long winded? That’s easy. Dad and the Ex. Ever heard of a 2-minute dissertation? Well, my father is the KING of the 30-minute dissertation. He goes on f-o-r-e-v-e-r. As a child, I remember Nan promising me certain death when I would ask Dad what a particular word meant. She’d look at me as if to say, “Get a friggin’ dictionary! Don’t ask him!” My favorite was when I asked Dad what my gluteus maximus was…it was like a scene out of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”…where the dad goes on and on? Yeah. My father went to explain that it was a part of the “gluteil group.” No, he couldn’t say, “Well, angel, that would be your butt.” NO. Not Daddy. He went on for 30 minutes…I’m not even kidding. When he finally finished speaking, I was still thoroughly confused so I went to look it up…30 minutes only to find that my gluteus maximus was my ass. Brilliant I tell you! But it did teach me patience which is by far the best lesson anyone can learn.
The ex was far worse! If Daddy went on for 30-minutes it was nothing compared to the ex going on for an HOUR on one subject. I mean between my father and the ex, if I wanted to know something, I’d have to sit through a half-hour to an hour of explanation, which in most cases, the information they passed on wasn’t even close on to right. Yeah, between the two of them, I learned how to do my own research.
But, nonetheless, today I stuck with the facts. It took 30 words to exactly say the bare bones facts, it took less than 20 minutes. The fun part of this was that while on the in-classroom computer I was writing it on, Prof H came by to answer a question from a fellow student just as I was clicking on Tools -> Word Count in Microsoft Word. The box came up and read “Word Count: 30”. My arms flew up in triumph with a very loud “WOOOO!” Prof H looked at me like I was on crack. I pointed and said, “I wrote a 30 word lead…” and smiled apologetically. How could he know that I go on for hours on end? How could he know that brevity, in all of it’s forms, is something I’m dying to learn? Oh to go short. OH to have nothing to say. But, you know, that’d make me kinda boring so I’ll stick with being colorful. I figure brevity is like olives, an aquired taste (or in my case, skill).
But here, let’s keep the “On the other fronts” section nice and brief…
I built my new desk Tuesday afternoon. $79 at the local Office Depot purchased a beautiful little desk that fits right in the corner of my living room. I put it together myself. NO, for all you naysayers and non-believers in my survival and building skills, it hasn’t fallen apart and isn’t going to. It’s sturdy as a rock, thank you very much.
I heard from the nice girl at Rebelation Media (UNLV’s student-run ad agency) with the opportunity to apply to be a copywriter with them. (Me? Write? Never….Oh yes, I’m going to turn down an opportunity to work at an ad agency…)
More boxes have been cleaned out and things are going into drawers and cabinets. (The kitchen is still a disaster.) All of the unpacking has to be done by next Thursday (Sept. 23) because my pal Chance will be in town and staying with me for my birthday weekend.
Finally, we’re going into the final 10 days of me being 38. Saturday the 25th will tell 38 goodbye and welcome me to the final year of my 30’s. I will officially be 39 and holding. (Holding what, I have no idea.)
Oh and one last thing…
Since I’ve moved into my new apartment, guess what? Haven’t been to bed past 2 a.m. since I’ve been here. I actually enjoy sleeping in MY room, besides, I’m too worn out by 11pm to stay up any longer than I absolutely have to.
So, here’s to some triumphs…a 30 word lead, a put-together desk, boxes unpacked and going to bed on time.
That’s what I call making progress!
We need a song of the day…the video is a bit weird, (and you may recognize the tune from the trailer from Eat, Pray, Love) but how about Florence + the Machine…”The Dog Days Are Over”…because let’s face it, it looks like my dog days are winding down. So many good things are coming my way and I can’t believe it. It’s moments like these you remember and are grateful for…and you know what? It may sound selfish or horrible, but,
I deserve it.