Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rinse and spin

On my break, I'm questioning what to do with my reporting. My professor told me I need to get an internship with one of the local dailies. She says my little job at my little paper is fine if I don't get the internship, but that I need to go somewhere bigger where my skills would be appreciated. I thought they were appreciated where I was. Sure, I don't use all of those skills to the highest degree. Heck, I don't use some of them at all. But I've got it pretty cushy. And I get paid pretty well considering. I guess I don't want to jump ship and stuff envelopes somewhere else.

I'm also wondering about working at one of the campus papers. It feels sort of like a been-there-done-that, but they're both dailies and the community is much bigger than what I'm used to. It just strikes me as a chore. But maybe a good opportunity.

Anyway, enough navel-gazing.

No heart attacks this Christmas. Yea!

My mom came over Christmas Eve. We had homemade pizza, just like last year, which worried me a little given last year's big event. We watched some Vicar of Dibley, which was pretty funny. It was the 10th Anniversary special or something. I hadn't seen those particular episodes before. I haven't seen my mom laugh that much in a very long time.

My brother and his family also came over that day. It was nice. The kids played hard. In true Aunt Amy fashion, I got my nieces self-inflating whoopee cushions. Man, they sound real.

My mom took Kelsey's bed, and Kelsey slept on the top bunk in Kayleigh's room. Kayleigh whined a bit about it. She said Kelsey keeps her awake wanting her to tell stories. And she snores, Kayleigh says. Ah, well. They got to sleep some time after 11.

The day itself was pretty low-key, which I like. We watched some more Vicar of Dibley after gift-opening. I dropped my mom off at my brother's in the afternoon for standing rib and Yorkshire pudding.

My spoils: Adobe CS3, Forrest Gump, season 4 of Goodnight Sweetheart, the soundtrack to Into the Woods, and a penguin watch. Eric got a great deal on CS3 from work. Pretty darn cool.

The kids seemed pleased with their gifts, as well. Eric kind of got short shrift this year. The guy owns just about everything, and the stuff he wants that he doesn't own is impossible to find.

We went snow tubing on Wednesday. It was fun, but not delightful. It got faster as it got colder outside. The lines got shorter as it got colder, too, which was also nice.

Today I took my mom to the doctor, did some of her shopping, some of her laundry, and shoveled her driveway and sidewalks. She took me out to lunch. I like that. We went to the Jet Room, a little family-style restaurant at the old airport. While you eat your hash browns, fancy planes wheel up next to your window. She'd never been there before, and she liked it.

Anyway, laundry list over.

I hope you had a fine Christmas, if you're so inclined. Any grand plans for New Years?


laurie said...

well, as you know, i did it all backwards, so i'm not a good one to give advice. but that never stopped me before...

working on the bigger campus paper would help you get an internship, if that's what you want. of course, there's no guarantee that an internship would be anywhere near where you live.

how small is the little paper where you're working now?

and... what are your ambitions?

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I had to go back in your archives to read about your last Christmas. I'm awfully glad you avoided that this year. I think you've all been through enough lately.

Your day sounded nice and peaceful. I hope it continues.

Amy said...

RC, it's been a very nice break. It's dumping snow again, and I'm holed up watching movies and reading.

Laurie, the little paper I'm working at is a weekly with a distribution of about 2000. The Clarion, the student paper where I was editor, was a biweekly with a distribution of about 3000. The two UW papers are dailies, one with a distribution of 10,000, the other less.

My ambitions: I'd like to do copy editing, but I want the opportunity to write, too. Eventually: travel writer.

I think I'm a better editor than writer. I managed to take a fairly uncommitted bunch of writers and seriously uncommitted designers and turn out a newspaper that won some major awards.

I like to write about people and places. I get head-swelling feedback when I write about people. I'm still horribly shy, which makes talking to people difficult. I am competent at page layout, but not especially gifted at design. I'm not thrilled doing news reporting, although I think I do OK at it. I just worry that I'm fucking it up somehow. And I know it's fairly dry reading, at least when I write news. I much prefer pulling someone's personality out and plopping it on a page for people to read.

I need to stay in the Madison area for now. I won't move my kids. Unless it's somewhere fabulous and the money is obscene.

laurie said...

travel writers are few and far between, i'm sorry to say. we used to have two. now we have 1/2, and his travels are limited pretty much to the upper midwest.

he used to go all over the world--both of them did--to mongolia and china and vietnam and paris and rome and south america, and write wonderful pieces that every year won national awards.

now it's "the top ten state parks in minnesota" and stuff like that. still good stuff, but not as interesting for him or for the readers.

travel writers also have to be crack photographers.

i don't mean to discourage you. just tell you the truth.

copy editing? much more realistic. the world needs excellent copy editors.

Amy said...

I have no illusions about travel writing. Maybe I should have called it dream job rather than an ambition. Still, who says I can't write a book? Or turn in an occasional article rather than it being a full-time job? I'm terribly practical. And I mean terribly.

So, what should I do to bust into copy editing? I've heard there is always demand, but it doesn't appear to be a job you get fresh out of college.

Thanks, by the way, for sharing your expertise.

Oh, Eric will be up at his dad's later this week. Just on the other side of the park.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Whoopee cushions are a hit in this house too! We had a wonderful Christmas day and Boxing Day - then it all went pear shaped!

Best wishes for the New Year.
Crystal xx

Amy said...

Crystal, sorry about the post-Christmas meltdown. You take such good care of your family. I hope the new year can find you some relief.

How long does Amy get for winter break?

laurie said...

some papers will hire will-call copy editors--sort of like copy editor substitute teachers, to fill in on busy nights or vacation time. you should inquire at the madison paper, maybe?