When I came up with the idea to have a Macomb Now Blog I wondered what we, the writers of the blog, would write about that, you the reader would want to read. I figure my readers are a lot like myself and I already kinda know you since I’ve been writing for Macomb Now for some time now. But I want our new Blog to be different than the magazine and I want it to have a life of its own, if that is even possible. So here goes our first blog posting.
At this beginning of 2018 I thought I would tell you how I ended my year – 2017. As Editor-in-Chief of the magazine I was invited to speak to a journalism class at Lakeview High School in mid December – the day before they went for break. The perfect thing for me to do to end my year.
When I was asked by the school counselor I immediately thought these kids will not be interested in what I do and will be on their phones the whole time. My next thought was – I wonder what the school looks like inside and if I will recognize it, since I graduated from LHS way back in 1981.
Well, after telling the counselor I was a graduate she went and looked me up in the yearbook. Of course she showed me a photo of myself when I got there. Out of the 10 photos of me in my senior yearbook, she chose the clown outfit photo – dress up day – to be the one she found of me. Note to self, Yearbook was attempting to be a Facebook of the 80s. Unfortunately, print media was permanent and I couldn’t delete that photo.
Nonetheless, as I walked through the school hallway I passed one of my old lockers and across the hall was the classroom where I would meet the journalism class and their teacher, Mr. Savalle. These students put together the school newspaper, which is online only. One student does the school announcements and many of them were also in Yearbook class. These kids were all a mini me. I wrote for the Husky News, I was on Yearbook Staff for two years and I even wrote for the Literary Journal – which LHS doesn’t have anymore. So sad.
So I began by telling the students how I used to be them. How I also sat in this same class and how almost 40 years later I’m working in the field and smiling every day. I gave them an overview of the magazine, what me and my staff do during our days and how I prepared myself for my current job – including my 35 years of work experience. Surprisingly I had their attention for most of the class period. I answered some really great questions and compared my work to theirs easily, which surprised many of them.
We have brainstorming sessions for story ideas, just like they do. We both worry about grammar and page design, catchy headlines and getting the story right. At the end of the day, we are the same, just writing for a different audience, but using the same basic criteria to get the job done. It was both an eye opener for me and for them. I gave them advise on coming up with story ideas, creating awareness for their publication and to remember their use of pronouns correctly like – You, Your, You’re.
It made me relive my past and all the writing I have done over the years, how each task has helped shape me and helped me grow. It also confirmed my thinking of how to be happy in your work – You must pick a job that brings a smile everyday and be ready to adapt and learn new things. I told this to the students. I told them how I learned to type without a keyboard – but on a typewriter. How I had to proofread and actually erase – not delete. How when I did page design I was key-lining and using glue. I explained how I had to learn the computer on my own, after college. How I had to teach myself how to use the various software and find the right people to teach me and how I couldn’t be afraid to have to learn something new and adapt to new ways of doing something.
And, at the end of the day, or the class I should say – I learned what I was telling them was really true. I learned my basics young and continued to learn and build on that foundation. My experiences, both up and down, have shaped me and although I have always smiled for work, I smile even bigger today in my current job. And, at the end of the day – you have to be able to smile on your way to work in the morning to call yourself successful.