Day 40 of the “40 Days,” and I am pondering what the best wrap-up would be. First of all, let me make it clear that I do plan to continue writing, but will be taking a short break. Once I continue — and I promise I will — it will still be under the same “Wired for Whimsy” blog, most of which I will be posting on Facebook.
Ironically I just returned from a book signing for my good friend, Jo Eager, who has a story published in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers & Daughters.”
Jo and I started out as co-workers at our traffic reporting job at Airwatch, then our friendship evolved from there. Now, here we are, both still in Broadcasting, and both writers as well; she, a paid one, and me, hoping to perhaps someday be — providing that is the path in which the universe takes me.
Meanwhile, this 40-Day writing project has been one of the best ways for me to not only utilize my creativity, but also to be heard.
“But you’re on the radio, Kelly! People hear you all the time,” you contest.
My response to that is, “Yes, they hear me…doing traffic reports and reading commercial spots. But they don’t hear me.”
So this calls for a little background.
You’ve all heard the old adage, “When one door closes, another one opens.” But what happens when the closed door never really opened in the first place?
Throughout my late 20’s and 30’s, I had flirted with the idea of a career in Broadcasting, but I wasn’t quite finished with the whole Graphics/Production Artist thing yet, so any aspirations outside of that were put on the back burner. At the same time, I was struggling to get into the Voiceover field, but had only had a few bones thrown my way in that department, mostly through people I already knew.
About 14 years ago, after getting laid off from yet another Graphics job, I began to face reality, listen to my heart and get serious about Broadcasting. I took some classes at San Diego City College and delivered news reports on the college station several times a week. I spent numerous hours at the college station, on air, taking classes and working on various projects.
My goal was to become a DJ and/or part of an actual show, preferably a co-host of a morning or afternoon team. I was an older intern, working at a couple of traffic and news services. Getting into the game in my late 30’s was a bit awkward, but I was serious enough about it that people began to take notice. The fact that I was having fun helped to sweep aside any insecurities about being almost twice the age of the average intern.
Once I actually started getting paid to be an on-air traffic (and sometimes news) reporter, things started to move at a good pace, prompting Chuck to refer to me as “the overnight success that took 15 years to get there.”
During my first few years as a traffic reporter, there were a handful of hosts who actually expressed an interest in me as a co-host, but the short story of it is — whether due to budget or timing — nothing ever materialized. That is the door that never opened.
The good news is that, not only was I having fun at my job, I had — and still have — the opportunity to be a part of numerous shows, many of which have actually let me give my opinion and views on various subject matters. I have also been included in many on-air bits and have been invited to numerous parties, celebrations and other social events.
Most of the friends I have now are radio friends, and being the social animal I am, that has been a huge bonus that I truly did not expect when first embarking into the Broadcast field.
The downside is that I still have so much to say, and often times possess the chops to present it in a way that people actually find entertaining. The latter can be attested from the people that I make laugh and have stimulating conversations with on a daily basis, off the air.
Broadcasting being the best career I have had, I admit with some trepidation that it has been difficult at times to be standing by to do a traffic report, or perhaps just listening to one of my stations — or stations from another company — and hear the members of a show in a discussion that I am not only hungry to be a part of, but feel I have truly got something worthy to contribute. The twisting of the knife is when some of the input of the show’s members cannot remotely be considered engaging, let alone stimulating; yet there they sit, human laugh tracks — with the laughter continuing all the way to the bank, after the show.
What makes things particularly disheartening is that the tides of radio have changed so very much over the years, with so much focus being cast upon brevity — especially from non-key players — that as a traffic reporter I am now expected to record most of my reports, keeping them 30 seconds and under, with no interaction with the shows whatsoever. Not only is there no opportunity for banter in most cases, there is not much time for creativity and personality.
Bitterness aside, this writing project has been a great opportunity for me to express parts of myself that I feel are constantly being suppressed, which has also been extremely therapeutic. Of course as a writer, it is all one-sided, but the virtues prevail. It is mine. I own it. I’m the boss here; the host of my own show. There is no 30-second cap on how much I can say.
Ironically, before being introduced to the “40 Days” project, I was already entertaining the thought of starting a blog. From my laptop, at the end of May, I pecked out this sentence: “Think about a blog just about you..because, contrary to what you may believe, you, KELLY are worth writing about.”
If the feedback I have received is any indication, apparently I was wise to run with my intuitions. Yes, this has been a creative, rejuvenating and therapeutic project, but it is the response I got that truly was the icing — thick, delicious icing — on the cake.
Which leads me to the gratitude part.
JoDee Anello, for introducing me to this project. To simply say that your own writing has been an inspiration to me would be a huge understatement. I doubt there is a super-model on earth that exudes the writing talent, deep love and joie de vivre that you possess. Hanging out with you and a bottle of Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc (or any other favorite, for that matter) one day is on my bucket list.
Kate Graham and the “40 Days of Writing” community. Not only am I looking forward to the next “40 Days of Writing” project, I plan to spread the word, in hopes that my friends and family will embark on their own journey on the next go-around.
Karen Malkson, my Jr. High School English teacher, who saw the writer in me many years ago, and who I am very blessed to be in touch with now. Better late than never; I hope I have made you proud.
Jim Lengell, for your never-ending encouragement, and your own participation in the “40 Days.” Having a good friend along on this journey was priceless, and an integral part of what kept me forging ahead, even on days when ideas weren’t so forthcoming.
Madelyn Moydell, for being such a devoted reader and great neighbor. The afternoon you showed up after reading “Day 26 — The Dog Scare,” with a bottle of pinot gris, then sharing it with me on my front terrace, will be forever ingrained in my memory and in my heart. (please reconsider moving…I will miss you tremendously)
My big brother Tom for your input and encouragement. Tom, I encourage you to take your own writing journey. You may surprise yourself. Love you (and contrary to what you may believe, I always thought you were Mom’s favorite)!!
Deb Gentile, for your inspiration, writer wisdom and contagious sense of fun. I knew you first as an exceptional writer, and now I am proud to have you as a friend, as well. (people, please check out this woman’s work at http://www.deblogsite.com/ She brings it to the surface, touches your heart and really gets you thinking)
Jo Eager, for being a survivor, and then sharing your experiences, so we can tackle our own obstacles and challenges with the same aplomb. I knew you first as a friend, and now a writer; it just keeps getting better with you! One of your biggest fans, I can’t wait to see what you and all your vivacity do next. You make me extremely proud.
My husband Chuck, who, just when I thought you didn’t care that much about this project, blurted out amid friends (who were discussing my blog) one afternoon, “My favorite is ‘Comfort Food!’” I love that you still surprise me now and then. I also appreciate your patience with me as I would wrap up a particular blog before we could sit down and watch “Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men,” or one of our other favorites.
Everyone who read my blog, whether you posted or not. You know who you are, and I hope I made a point to respond to everyone of you who did post. A number of you who didn’t were kind enough to tell me in person how much you enjoyed my writing. Your kind words — verbally or written — made my heart sing, and gave me the encouragement — as well as nourishment — to want to keep going.
Even the handful of you who expressed that you didn’t particularly agree with a certain topic are vital to me as a writer. What is important to me is that you read what I had to say, and you reacted in a way that is true to yourself. That is very refreshing, especially in this day and age.
Uh-oh…the music has started playing, and I see the big hook getting ready to yank me offstage. It’s been fun, everyone! Thanks for everything!