Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sometimes the magic works

I do a lot of writing in my day job at Texas State. Actually, that's pretty much the gist of my job--that and editing and riding herd on a handful of graduate assistants and interns. A lot of what I do is routine, but every so often I get a challenging project.

Currently, we're doing a revamp/relaunch of the alumni/university magazine, Hillviews. The copy deadline was Nov. 1, and I got everything in on time--all my stories, plus the intern/grad assistant assignments I was in charge of editing. Except. There was one article I didn't get done. Using the recent production of The Rocky Horror Show as a kind of framing device, I was to put together a feature on the theatre department. I interviewed the department chair for about an hour, and the director of Rocky Horror and the actors as well. I did considerably more research on this one than I normally would for a Hillviews story, but during the revamp discussions, Texas Monthly came up repeatedly as a model for us to emulate (among others). So that's the kind of story I was envisioning.

But I had World Fantasy to attend in Austin, so that knocked out several days. Then immediately after I got back we had a major press conference to prepare for and staff. Then there were the interns and grad assistants to work with, not to mention the everyday press releases and media requests to deal with. Suddenly, it's the middle of the month. Ouch. Okay, well my plate's now cleared, and I can knock this sucker out. Except my G5's hard drive goes belly-up. Ouch. Then it's Thanksgiving and that knocks out the better part of last week (and as of this writing my hard drive remains dead). But today I was able to snag the computer of a co-worker out ill, and finally polished that monster off.

It's War and Peace, folks. I turned it into the Hillviews editor, who just about choked when she ran the word count. Topped out at 2,700 words. I know--that's short for me, if we're talking fiction. But consider that Hillviews rarely runs articles even approaching 500 word, historically speaking. So about an hour later she comes into my office: "I hate you," sez she. "Why? What's the problem?" asks I. "It's too long. But it's too good. I can't cut any of it," sez she. They're now reworking the page budget to accommodate my gargantuan eruption of prosaic genius.

Hey, it's not the Pulitzer, but occasional egoboo of this nature is a very welcome thing.

Now Playing: Various Sentimental Journey: Great Ladies of Song

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