I feel like this blog is turning rapidly from a blog about “naming things” to a blog about NPR shows on which I hope to someday be. In that spirit, I’d like to tell you a story:
I finished my newest book in July. It came out last month. (Remember The Best Life List? Now you will be very very sleepy and now you will go order it on Amazon and now you will wake in 3…2…1…) Hey there! What? No, we were just talking about NPR…
Any time I have ever finished a book I have gone into a mild depression. Nothing with cutting, but you know, a sort of downtime involving a live streaming Felicity marathon or carbo-loading. I have been really fortunate in that a new project had a way of coming up fairly quickly. Or maybe it’s just that human animals tend to forget pain. I don’t really know how long I went between projects. But I don’t recall turning to my limited stockpiles of gumption, pulling up my bootstraps (or, whatever) and trying to rustle myself up some work.
So as I’m lamenting my lack of a career over coffee with my incredibly go-getting author friend Abby Sher (Amen, Amen, Amen is the title of her amazingly powerful memoir featured on the Tyra Show and in Elle Magazine. Now you will be very very sleepy and now you will go order it on Amazon and now you will wake in 3…2…1…) What? Nothing.
…Abby says, “You need to pull up your boot straps,” or else she quotes the actual cliche, and she points me to the NPR program This American Life because she’s awesome and go-getting and knows about things and she says, “Even you must have at least one story that fits into one of these upcoming show themes.”
But that isn’t what gets me to do it. What gets me to do it is that pitching This American Life doesn’t involve donating a kidney or writing a lot. Rather, they only need you to jot down a few paragraphs about the story you want them to feature. It’s pitching for the lazy. You can carbo-load AND pitch them in between Felicity episodes. It’s a wondrous thing.
So I pitched a story to them. Then heard nothing. Now this is generally how me pitching things goes: I pitch and then just kind of hang out. Again, totally good for people who spend a lot of time chewing. But what happened at the Cavs game at my friend Mike Lashutka’s house last Wednesday is what changed the course of these events for the better.
First of all, I don’t watch sports but the event was Tivo’ed so it was definitely more fun when you get to watch the thing in fast forward. Also, the Cavs won which made all those Brooklyn Transplanted Northern Ohioans happy. But the best thing was that a girl came to the party with whom I got to talking. (She’s a social worker and you know how I gravitate to people who will listen to me.)
So she mentions that she used to work at NPR. I reply, “No way! I just submitted my first pitch to This American Life.” So she’s all, “Really? I used to work at This American Life!” And I’m like, “Nuh uh!” and we do that for a minute.
Long story shortened: The powers-that-be are subsequently contacted to dig up my pitch and the next day I get a confirmation email that my pitch has been received and read. It was automated. Everyone gets it. But I’d like to think I got mine a little more quickly and maybe even a little more thoughtfully because I got networked. And in this business that’s huge.
Now I am waiting again but I bought a box of Oreo snack cakes. (You heard that correctly. Not cookies. Snack Cakes. Cakesters, if you will. You can thank me later.) I don’t mind the wait because at least it’s an indication that I did something productive and that there is momentum behind my career.
Or at least that I did something productive…