Skip to main content

Some people.

That’s all I’m going to say.  Okay, not quite.  Because, well, the INGRATITUDE of some people.

When I write an article about somebody for our friendly local Jewish newspaper, I usually BECOME the paper for that person or organization.  From then on, whenever something exciting is going on in that person or organization’s life, I am the “go-to person” for media coverage.

I swear, I NEVER represent myself as more than the humble freelancer that I am.  I love being a freelancer – note the word “FREE” as in “I have the freedom to ignore you and your organization when I’m not receiving money to pay attention to it.” 

It’s largely a committment-free life, which is good, because most of these people are not folks I want to commit to.  Mostly because every person and organization have basically the same events:  galas, inaugurations, speakers, maybe a heart-breaking or heart-wrenching thing or two. 

I have covered countless “show support for Israel” events, countless Yom HaShoah and Kristallnacht commemorations.

Innumerable “somebody died so let’s do “something semi-noteworthy in his honour” evenings. 

Dozens of “we are Jews and this is what we’re doing so this is a Jewish thing.”  Like the Jews in canoes or the Bat Mitzvah ballerina collecting ballet supplies to send to Russia.

And more than a few “old/crippled/extraordinary” person does “hard/big/unusual” thing (these stories are usually a bit on the heartwarming side).

I enjoy almost all of these while actually researching and writing them, and even like the challenge of writing journalistically.  But I don’t fool myself that I’m changing the world.  The changing-the-world stories inevitably take more time and attention than I have at present, so the stories I do work on are basically (like this blog) my way of keeping my fingers nimble and my brain from calcifying completely.

What I don’t enjoy is the follow-up.  If I cover your Chanukah event, pretty please do NOT send press releases every week for everything from your Shavuos learn-a-thon to your preschool graduation party?  If I just wrote an article about your headstand juggling act, don’t email me a month later to tell me you now juggle with fire.  Learn how to do it with fire BEFORE I interview you the first time, please.  Fire makes any juggling act better.

And don’t call me out of the blue on a busy Sunday afternoon, tie me up on the phone for half an hour (doesn’t ANYBODY read my blog and know that I hate using the phone???) so Ted can’t reach me, to tell me about your little community project which by the way is coming to an urgent culmination in exactly one week and you need an article in the paper right this second.

Give me a little lead time here.

And then if, after that aforementioned half-hour conversation, I DO go out on a limb and email my editor on your behalf and send you a copy of the email to prove it, don’t tell me I didn’t quite get the facts exactly right.  Say THANK YOU.

If, after that aforementioned email, I follow up with an actual phone call (For me, this is BIG!  I hate using the phone!) to my editor, a person whom I have met in person twice and with whom 99.9% of my communication is email-based, say THANK YOU.

If, during that aforementioned phone call, my editor says we can do an article in two weeks but not beforehand because you have given us ZERO lead time and the issue isn’t really complete until all the facts are in, don’t tell me there IS enough time.  He’s the editor of the WHOLE PAPER; I’m a freelancer.  Say THANK YOU.

So here’s My Freelance Writer message to the world:

Dear World: 

I don’t have superpowers.  I’m not even that good of a writer, though I did write a heart-warming children’s story this afternoon about a family of trash-picking weirdos (based loosely on our real lives!).  I’m not even very industrious. 

Clue:  if I wanted to be a hard-working writer, maybe I’d have gotten a journalism degree instead of a philosophy one.

No, I dream of being the Slacker Mom, twiddling away at the keyboard and cashing in with the occasional cheque in return for my more payment-worthy musings.  Short of that, I dream of the easiest article assignments with the highest pay and fewest interviews.  Short of that, send me to interview friendly people who are willing to talk about why they’re interesting so I don’t have to haul it out of them like a stubborn tree root.

If you want me to write an article for you, sum up the topic of the article in one sentence.  Write it down on paper and decorate it with curlicues.  Ask yourself if you’d go see it if they made a movie out of it.  Discuss it with your neighbours and see if their eyes glaze over.  Place it under your pillow and see if it infiltrates your dreams.

Now add your curlicued idea to the blender and whiz it up with some water.  Paper is hard on the blades, but hopefully you won’t get these ideas all that often.  Drink the water.  If you feel okay to go about your everyday business, go forth and do so.  May your life be blessed.

If, however, you swell up and explode, only this is the true proof of an article’s ultimate newsworthiness; feel free to have your heirs send it my way. 

THANK YOU.

Postscript:  Maybe I should have listed “crow” as on my Menu Plan last night, since I seem to be eating quite a bit of it today.  Just as I finished writing this, the person in question emailed to say she’d read my email too hastily at first, hadn’t understood what I was saying… and yes, there’s even a “Thanks” in there, too.

Popular posts from this blog

לימודי קודש/Limudei Kodesh Copywork & Activity Printables

Welcome to my Limudei Kodesh / Jewish Studies copywork and activity printables page.  As of June 2013, I am slowly but surely moving all my printables over to 4shared because Google Docs / Drive is just too flaky for me. What you’ll find here: Weekly Parsha Copywork More Parsha Activities More Chumash / Tanach Activities Yom Tov Copywork & Activities Tefillah Copywork Pirkei Avos / Pirkei Avot Jewish Preschool Resources Other printables! For General Studies printables and activities, including Hebrew-English science resources and more, click here . For Miscellaneous homeschool helps and printables, click here . If you use any of my worksheets, activities or printables, please leave a comment or email me at Jay3fer “at” gmail “dot” com, to link to your blog, to tell me what you’re doing with it, or just to say hi!  If you want to use them in a school, camp or co-op setting, please email me (remove the X’s) for rates. If you just want to say Thank You, here’s a

Hebrew/ עברית & English General Studies Printables

For Jewish Studies, including weekly parsha resources and copywork, click here . If you use any of my worksheets, activities or printables, please leave a comment or email me at Jay3fer “at” gmail “dot” com, to link to your blog, to tell me what you’re doing with it, or just to say hi!  If you want to use them in a school, camp or co-op setting, please email me (remove the X’s) for rates. If you enjoy these resources, please consider buying my weekly parsha book, The Family Torah :  the story of the Torah, written to be read aloud – or any of my other wonderful Jewish books for kids and families . English Worksheets & Printables: (For Hebrew, click here ) Science :  Plants, Animals, Human Body Math   Ambleside :  Composers, Artists History Geography Language & Literature     Science General Poems for Elemental Science .  Original Poems written by ME, because the ones that came with Elemental Science were so awful.  Three pages are included:  one page with two po

Ancient Auction Secret: If Chinese auctions are racist, why do Jews love them so much?

Ah, Jews, Jews, Jews, Jews.  You sure do love your Chinese auctions, don’t you? It seems that even in an era of political correctness, within certain circles, this term just will not die . And frankly, I’m mortified. I’m not Chinese, but I have family who is Chinese.  Some are Korean, as well.  I guess this makes us more ethnically diverse than many Jews, but I suspect most Jewish families are moving in this direction.  Still.  Even if we don’t know a single Chinese person, we should still stop calling it that. First of all… is it actually racist to call it a Chinese auction? I figured I’d let Chinese people decide.  But when I turned to Google to find out how Chinese people feel about Chinese auctions, what I found was mostly… nothing.  Silence.  I did find some debate (presumably among non-Chinese people) over whether it was too far in the direction of political correctness to refer to these as a “silent auction” or (as in some parts of the States) a “tricky tray.”  (Ok