One year later
As I sat down in the dark, empty newsroom, I was suddenly hit by a realization. I wasn't going to blog about it, but I figure you've got to have some milestones in life.
As of right now, I will be starting on my second year of employment at the Evergreen.
Wow, it feels really weird to say that. I'm honestly shocked I'm still working here. Last summer, I was only working one job (computer repair, 20 hours a week), and was getting really bored. I saw a house ad looking for columnists, and seeing as how I love the sound of my own voice (figuratively, of course [or should I say, literarily]), I ventured down to the Murrow dungeon and grabbed an application.
It wasn't the first time I considered working for the Evergreen (I had picked an app that spring but never bothered to fill it out), but it was the first time I actually turned my application in. I filled it out and turned it in on June 17th, and promptly thought nothing else about it.
On the 19th, I got a call from Kellie, the opinion editor at the time. She said to come on in for an interview on the 20th (a Wednesday). I was somewhat surprised it was so quick, but I figured I should have a sample ready to show her in case she wanted to see how I wrote. I did some research, looked up some quotes about WSU in the press recently, and wrote up a quick column.
When I went in, Kellie went over the basics with me, told me I was hired and asked when I could have my first column in by. It literally took about that long. I showed her my sample column, to which she made a few suggestions/edits and printed it. I remember walking between Murrow East & West staring at my watch around 4:30. Damn, I thought, I'm gonna be in the newspaper. And I didn't have to get arrested or anything.
I didn't even know columnists got paid at that point. I was perfectly willing to do it for funsies so I wouldn't be so bored. I wrote about half a dozen columns, submitted my name at the end of the summer as someone willing to do it again in the fall, and dismissed it when I didn't hear anything.
Then, on the Tuesday of Work Week (the week before school starts when all the sororities and fraternities clean/repair their houses), I got a call on my phone. It was Lisa, telling me the Evergreen needed an opinion editor and someone (I'm assuming it was Mel) had mentioned me as someone who was capable of handling it (translation to my ears: Your copy didn't require too much work during the summer ... but I showed them!).
I called her back and was invited to visit the newsroom the next day.
Well, I dutifully turned up and was immediately intimidated by all the people who were busily and purposefully going about their work. Clearly, these were people who knew what the hell they were doing. Being far too nervous to speak, I was lucky Lisa happened to be coming out of her office and introduced herself to me. She (along with Tor) pulled me into the office and closed the door, with Lisa behind the desk and Tor seated in the pink comfy chair. I don't think Victor said much beyond quizzing me on some InDesign stuff, and it mostly consisted of Lisa couching everything in terms of language that implied I was taking the job, or else (it was a masterful job of persuasion). That was pretty much it. The next thing I knew Lisa led me outside the office, announced I was the opinion editor (I specifically remember Kaci yelling, "Finally!" or "Thank God!"), and off I went.
That was 10 months ago.
I still feel a little foolish typing in "deeditor" at the login screen every day, but I've mostly gotten over it. I still haven't stopped looking over at the editor's office, expecting Brian or Lisa or Tor or somebody to walk out and tell me what to do or pointing out how to do something better. It's always a bit of a jolt to realize how far away Tacoma, Spokane and the 'Couv really are.
I won't say every day working at the Ev is fun, because God knows there are those ridiculously frustrating days that make you feel all stabby. But I almost always feel better walking into the newsroom than I do any place else, and there aren't many other locales that I can say that about.
And even though this summer's provided its own set of ridiculous happenstance, I still feel we're able to take whatever comes at us and keep on rolling. As long as there's a passionate core group, this paper's never going under. Thank god for the summer staff, by the way. They freaking rock, even if I never bother to tell them (because there's always more work to be done).
I didn't ever think I'd end up working as an editor (hell, I barely knew what an editor did) when I first applied for the Ev, and I certainly didn't think I'd ever move out of opinion. Regardless, I can confidently say I've never once regretted any decision I made regarding working here.
Anyway, I wanted to make sure and thank everybody who helped me out along the way. Of course, by those people I mean all the other editors I've worked with (even including some who I never served under/with, but now wish I had) and even some of my writers (*shudder*), all of whom have helped me to get better at this thing as I go along, and I only hope I can help carry on the tradition. I'd list everybody individually, but the worst thing I can imagine is forgetting someone, so it's gotta be a group thang.
In short, it's been quite an eventful year for me. But as the saying goes, tomorrow's another day. And damn, the day after that's Sunday, which means another paper.
Better get to work.