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Meta-Blog Whilst In Assignment (with casual references to The Wonder Years!)

Categories: This Writer's Life.
Friends, you’ll have to excuse the economy of words I’m using today, as I’m actually in the midst of reporting out a story for Boston Globe’s Sunday Magazine — obviously I can’t get into it in detail ’till the album issue comes out, but it involves 1-2 days of extremely extensive note-taking, reporting, and use of my digital recorder, something I had been keeping in a Magner’s Cider glass in my room, for probably six months. As per usual, when I haven’t done something in a while I freak out, eat a ton of Christmas cookies, and complain… So I spent the early morning crying to my girlfriend about the potential disaster today could be, citing how I didn’t understand how to do anything involving the use of longhand writing, why I was rusty and unsure of how this was going to turn into a story, and that I didn’t even know how to report anymore.

“I’m sure you’ll get back into it,” she said, ignoring most of my yammering as she readied herself for work, annoyed that I was up during the normal breakfasting hours. “You know what they say– It’s like riding a bike.”

When I pointed out that I’d last ridden a bike when The Wonder Years was just hitting its stride during its high school portion and therefore was totally unprepared to A) ride a bike or B) report, she rolled her eyes. “Shut up. Just go talk to people, record it, write it down or whatever, then think about it, and write up your story. Like you always do. Isn’t that pretty much your job?”

Whatever. Either way, her words ended up ringing true. I did the first part of the reporting this morning and was enthused by the awesomeness: I learned a huge amount from some really smart people about something I previously had no recorded knowledge of, and which I will now pretend to have extensive knowledge of, and talk about in a broad scope if anyone even accidentally brings it up in passing. You lose, small talk!

But, alas, I have to return for part deux of my reporting phase, in which I will find the ending to my story and hopefully some sweet color that involves swears. Stay tuned for more vague and unhelpful information regarding stories I’m working on, the quality and scope of my reporting on said stories, and the time of my life when Kevin Arnold and Winnie (?) Cooper nearly tongue kissed.

With A Little Help,
From My Friends

Joe Cocker

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13 Responses to Meta-Blog Whilst In Assignment (with casual references to The Wonder Years!)

  1. Jennifer says:

    I’m so glad I found your blog. I look forward to following it!

  2. Kristan C. says:

    I don’t know what it means that I just read a craigslist ad about some "Boston Drinking Guide" looking for a contributing editor and thought, "Hey, I haven’t checked in with Kevin Alexander’s column lately."

  3. Olivia says:

    In my experience, really smart people are the best ones to learn a huge amount from. Well said.

  4. Alicia says:

    Thank god for the Wednesday blog. It brightened my day.

  5. Tom says:

    This reminds me of two things:

    Number A – It took me about a year to warm up to using my iPod on a regular basis. I still haven’t put more than a couple dozen albums on it, but I dig it all the same, and it’s slowly occurring to me that this is better than having 20 CDs sliding around in the console of my car.

    Letter 2 – I took a test for career stuff a year ago. I was trying to look for something that I could do outside of magazine work. I got a recording back with the analyzer’s comments on it. The first thing was, "You’d be good at magazine work." OHRLY??

    I’m seeing some parallels here. Does this mean I’m an Idealist Champion as well, or does it just mean that there’s more than one person out there who fears recorded technology and seems suited to magazine work?

  6. Genevieve says:

    Kevin, post the link to your article when it comes out. It’s cool to read about your writing process and then read the finished product.

    Do you remember when Fred Savage was in that show in the late 90’s where he played a guy in some office? I think it was called "Working." There was an episode where the girl who played Winnie made a cameo appearance and she’s this vampy chick who seduces Fred Savage’s character. The scene implied that much more than French kissing went on. Kevin and Winnie! Where did your child like innocence go? Oh, Winnie! When did you begin to where fish nets?

  7. Kevin Alexander says:

    Look Stephanie, I realize that there was some smooching going on in the early years of Wonder, but I’m talking full out tongue kissing, aka French kissing, aka making out, and I’m pretty sure that didn’t happen till the high schoolest years of Wonder. And by pretty sure, I mean vaguely have the feeling.

    Lisa, I can’t tell you how often I’ve had serious recording snafu’s… I was so terrified of the things that for the first three years I wrote for magazines, I refused to use them on the grounds that I was too lazy/technically deficient to use them without spending the whole time sweating about whether it was getting down what I needed… this was, of course, until I realized that without them I lose about 40% of whatever someone says. Which is not not bad.

    And speaking of which, the rest of the reporting went well. I have 26 handwritten pages from today, which is impressive even if I write longhand in 48 pt Courier New font. I don’t see how this is ever going to turn into 2000 words, but then again I never do…

    Third random point: I just took one of those Myers-Briggs tests, and they say I’m an Idealist Champion. If that doesn’t sound like a reason to get up in the morning, then you’re probably not necessarily in the Idealist family.

  8. Erin says:

    It’s kind of ironic to have a career-related entry with a nod to The Wonder Years, considering what’s happened to the erstwhile Kevin Arnold recently (he directed a movie called Daddy Day Camp. Ouch!) Kevin, you should totally think about that the next time you are having a meltdown. You’ve gotten a lot further than him!

  9. Christine says:

    Ah, a little career angst, eh, Kevin? Had a bit of that myself yesterday when a psychologist observed the math class I was teaching. Now he was watching one of my "more challenging" students, but I couldn’t help thinking that he was recording MY every move as well. I spent the entire hour feeling like I was under a microscope, had a mini-panic attack, and then met with Dr. So-and-so today where he proceeded to say that I did everything right when dealing with said challenging student. So it all turned out all right and I’m sure your article will too.

    The Wonder Years? Good God, I haven’t thought about that show in ages. That’s part of the appeal of this here blog. Good trips to the past, Kevin. Thanks.

  10. Stephanie Allen says:

    Kevin and Winnie first kissed when they were twelve…just thought you should know.

    "Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song…"

  11. kelly says:

    yes, its cooper

  12. Funny update, Kevin. Reminds me of a recorder error that I made in the not-too-distant-past. I was doing a phone interview and instead of putting my earpiece into the microphone jack, I put it into the earphone jack. Needless to say, I had a wonderful digital recording of a one-sided conversation…my side. Argh!! Couldn’t hear the answers from my interviewee whatsoever–even with the volume up full blast! Fortunately, I was taking notes, too, so once I confessed my error to the interviewee, blanks were filled in and the resulting article was a good one. Not one of my most stellar moments as a writer. Funny, though.

  13. Tom says:

    Ah, I’ve waited the whole of the day for this post, and now here it is in all its economically-worded glory.

    This reminds me of the time I had a minor meltdown (in front of then-girlfriend) before covering my first automotive event solo. The short of it: It all worked out fine. I lived. I got paid. The magazine folded a year or so later.

    Best of luck. I’m sure it’s going to turn out fantastic.

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