November 16, 2010

Full Circle

I've written before about how I sometimes feel I'm living my parents life again, at least the part when they were in their thirties. It's a good thing, this multi-generational de ja vu. My parents had a great time in their thirties. They still do. But I think that period, at least from the outside looking in, was probably one of the best. Like us they lived in a small town, had a child in elementary school and another in daycare/preschool. they didn't have a whole lot of money but they did have a whole lot of great friends. They were renovating a house, although their house was decked out in metallic gold wallpaper that didn't want to come down, a problem I'm really glad I don't have to deal with. And like me, my father was a writer. Except instead of writing for online blogs and magazines, he wrote for a newspaper.
I grew up in the newspaper. Literally and figuratively. Literally in that I spent a lot of time in the newspaper office, scrunched up under my dad's desk playing with line tape and those funny pencils that you sharpened by pulling a layer off of the tip, peeling the string down. I can't tell you how many of those started out new and ended up in ruins by the time I left. The dark room was magic, and a little mysterious, with it's two sided door. People would slip in, close the door and then disappear when I went to check. The cold room in the basement where they kept the heavy books full of back issues smelled faintly musty, but I loved to flip through the old volumes, seeing how the masthead and the typeface changed over time.

But also figuratively because my dad wrote a column about life, and part of that life was me. So everyone in town knew pretty much everything I did, and a lot of things I didn't know I'd done. The secretary at school would regularly find me in the halls and say "That was so cute what you did!" and I would wander off, wondering what it was my father had written about that time. Was it my horrible viola playing? My overactive imagniation? Most of my elementary school days can be tracked by reading those old columns.

In college I was a journalism major. It was what I knew and since I loved to write and didn't have anything else particular in mind, it seemed like a good choice. Plus it had no math requirement, which sealed the deal, I hated math. But I didn't want to work in newspapers. AT ALL. This was partly teenage angst and rebellion, after all, at 18 no one wants to be their parents. But it was also the fact that I knew I would never make a good reporter. I had grown up watching my dad go after stories. Hunting them down, talking to anyone and everyone and loving it. I didn't have that in me and I knew it even then. So I grumbled about how the journalism class load was print heavy. How those of us in other fields (I was in documentary film) were learning things we'd never use. NEVER. We shouldn't be forced to take classes for NEWSPAPER FOLK.

Never say never.

I called my dad last week to tell him that I've been offered a chance to write a small monthly column in our local paper. Blogging has its similarities to writing for the news for sure. And blogging the way I blog is akin with the type of column my dad wrote, but writing for the paper still has a different significance, at least for a newsbrat like me, than chattering away online (although it will still be my first love) I guess it's just in the blood. So to all my journalism professors who had to put up with my "I will never be a newspaper girl" attitude, to my father who grinned and nodded and probably knew where I was headed all along, you win. I'm a newspaper girl after all.