M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Monday, August 11, 2003  

Now It Can Be Told

Okay, maybe I exaggerated a little bit on Friday. I’m not, like, graduating to a higher plane of existence or anything, and Trash, having a life of her own, is going to continue to do so. If you’ve lost interest, feel free to come back tomorrow.

In order to bring you up to speed on what’s been going on, I’ll need to give you a little backstory.

A few months ago, my parents bought a boat. It’s a 29-foot cabin cruiser that they keep docked in Hastings, not far from where the Mississippi River says to the St. Croix, “I’ll take it from here.” They drive out to the marina and take the boat out for a spin every weekend they can, and some weekends when they can’t. Sometimes they don’t even bother taking it out; they’ll just hang out on the boat while it’s secured in its slip, and they’ll go below and take a nap, or maybe clean or polish something, or just enjoy the weather. They’re getting their money’s worth, that’s for sure.

And it works out well for us, too, because they like to invite us out to take a ride with them quite frequently. One of those invitations fell on a Saturday two weeks ago. We were planning to go, but I had to call my mom and cancel because I was going to talk with Garrison Keillor.

Whoops, I think I just gave the wrong backstory. Now I’ve totally undercut the tension, so everything leading up to the part where I got hired as the Staff Writer for the internationally broadcast radio show A Prairie Home Companion is going to seem like so much blathering.

The question everyone keeps asking is, “How did this happen?” It’s a pretty standard apply-interview-offer narrative, aside from the part where one of the principals is Garrison Keillor. We talked a few times over the course of a couple of weeks, and then he introduced me to the Managing Director. She and I talked for a bit about my resume, the organization, benefits, salary, where I’d be sitting—

“Excuse me,” I interrupted. “Is this an offer?”

She affirmed that it was.

“Okay,” I said. “Go on.”

As it turns out, I’m starting two weeks from today. I get a salary that is a lot better than one might expect from a job in public radio, full benefits, and an office with a door. I’ve never had an office with a door before. Hell, it’s been six years since I had a workspace with more than one drawer.

After we settled on my starting date (August 25—eek!) and said our good-byes, I got my car out of the (free) parking lot, drove two blocks, pulled over, and called Trash on the cell phone. If your lights dimmed at around 4:20 p.m. Central time on Friday afternoon, I’m afraid that’s due to the noise we made over the phone, which must have constituted a severe power drain.

Then I called my parents, who were similarly congratulatory, and I drove straight to my current office to give my notice. My boss was great. She’s happy that I’m getting such a great opportunity to do what I want to do, yet flatteringly panicked about the hole I’m going to leave. I’ll probably be spending a lot of the next two weeks training some of my coworkers to do stuff only I know how to do. Before it was job security; now it’s a potential method of time-delayed sabotage.

Not that I would ever want to do that, of course. I’ve gotten a lot out of working here over the years: skills, experience, and several hundred thousand American dollars. But it was never my calling. My calling would be the thing I’m going to start doing in two weeks. Writing. For money. For a living. For fun. At the same time.

So, not to exaggerate, but I think this falls pretty squarely into the category of “life-changing.” I’ve been looking for writing gigs on and off for over a year, and I couldn’t get arrested. Then I land this. It’s hard to imagine a better job for a writer in the Twin Cities. I probably would have been happy writing technical manuals or furniture assembly instructions, at least for a while. Instead I’m going to be writing material for broadcast to 3.9 million people a week. So this is kind of a big deal for me. It’ll be nice for Trash, because she’ll have a husband who’s happier in his job, but on the other hand we won’t be able to carpool into work any more. It’ll be nice for my friends and family, with whom I’ll now be able to share interesting stories about work instead of anecdotes about my current job that have been known to send people into comas. That leaves you guys.

I’ve got two weeks to go before anything changes in my daily routine, but I’ll be honest; I don’t think I’ll be able to keep updating every weekday after I start my new job. A good deal of my creative energy is going to be directed towards paying our mortgage, you see. But I have no intention of abandoning you entirely. Without all the great feedback from my regular and irregular readers, I doubt I would have had the motivation to keep this thing going at the level I have been. And I think that was a factor in the decision. So I owe part of this to you. I’m not going to ditch you now. That comes later.

Kidding! No, I’m also going to keep doing this because it’s fun, and because I’m still going to want to write about stuff that won’t work on the radio, or fit on the show, or get past the FCC. It just might go down to a few times a week, or maybe a couple of times a month, or maybe somewhere in between. Maybe there’ll even be some wild fluctuations in output. I hope that’s okay with you.

And if you want a more regular fix of my yammerings, check your local listings. The new season starts September 27.

posted by M. Giant 3:25 PM 0 comments


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