I missed this?

I started with the newspaper back in September of 2006. I can remember the very first story I covered- a community event; The River of Memories. The River of Memories is an annual rendezvous that happens along the banks of the Lemonweir River here in Mauston, Wisconsin. Attending it is a trip back into time when trappers and travelers lived off the land while making trades with the Natives that called the dense woods and rolling hills, home.

It was an easy article to write because there were so many stories ...so many glimpses into the event I could grab on to and create a picture of with words. Yes, my first published article, my first by-line was a full page spread and I was hooked.

Having not been one who paid much attention to language arts in school I never thought of myself as a writer, let alone a reporter. I never quite understood the rules, and why they even existed. As far as I was concerned if you can talk and spell fairly well, then you can write...so why the rules? Just write the words down as if you were having a conversation! Simple, right?

I thought that way up until I realized other people would be reading what I wrote....buying a newspaper and seeing all my lovely mistakes. Teachers across my county would be cringing. Would they know??? Could they tell from my articles that I only carry a GED? That I basically had only a 9th grade education? Only a couple of community college classes under my belt? Would they see that my education was self taught from a bored, and very ill little girl who spent more time home sick and in hospitals as a child rather than in a classroom at school? Would I be exposed? Were they laughing at me?

It was and still is hard for me to accept compliments from people on things I write.

"Oh really, you read that?"

"You didn't see that typo?"

Pretty sad, huh? I know that as soon as the words come out of my mouth. However, it still stuns me that people actually read what I write....and may even appreciate it.

Well I spent two and a half years writing non stop for the Juneau County Messenger, and then recently had a few months off. It was a slow down period, as well as a conflict for me to continue to keep writing/reporting because of a job I had (keyword - HAD). That on top of some thing else that one day I may write about....we'll see.

However now I am back writing for the paper. The call came a couple of weeks ago, and I accepted the job. It is and always has been a part time position....this is after all Juneau County Wisconsin - it's not like there's a hell of a lot of news out there to report on. Some weeks it may be 2 articles, and other weeks it may be 7. You never know, and can never count on a paycheck. Did I mention I get paid per article?

But even so....despite the fact I have those insecurities, and the less than desirable wage rural reporters like me make, I have to admit I am glad I'm back. There's nothing like the feeling when you take a child's picture for the paper and their parents and grandparents beam with pride knowing that picture will be in our local paper. Knowing that the picture and article I write with that child's name highlighted will most likely be clipped out and put in a scrap book...one where one day their children may see and wonder what life was like back then...back when my name was attached to that by-line. It's a cool feeling.

It's also for that reason I love to do human interest articles.....to put someone else's story into words. Pull at those heart strings, and inspire others. Those articles I can get lost in writing......

But then there are the nuts and bolts reports, like the one I am avoiding at this very minute - the retelling of a school board meeting...or even a city council meeting. How does one write something to keep reader's interest? Do they really want to know every little detail of that LONNNNNNNNNNNNG two hour meeting? Or do they want to know just the highlights....the things that perhaps those in power really do not want out there highlighted.....will those in power be on the phone complaining yet once again??? Not that I really care if they do - it's just the fact they think they can control the news after the fact - that does get to me at times.

One day I will write about all of that .....among some other things....Guess that will have to wait .... but for now I will just get back to writing about the news.....and hopefully this week I will get a chance to make some grandparent smile as they clip their grandchild's picture out of the paper for their scrap book....for me that is where true history is recorded and remembered.............

I've procrastinated long enough.........school board article here I come............


Khris said…
Eva Marie, I think you are a wonderful writer! Your posts flow so natural that it is like you are talking to me. That is a very special gift! I think with time it will even improve more. You just keep on writing.
Eva Marie said…
Thank you for the lovely compliment....I hope those in power think the same after some of my future articles...

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