Remembering Why by Sam Hill

Hello USM!

It’s been so long since I had to write a blog post that I pretty much forgot it was a thing even after Kelsea reminded me yesterday. Luckily, Crystal happened to be hanging out in the lounge of our hall in Gorham and reminded me.

The problem is, I have a million and one things to do. All the time.  Right now I should be transcribing a half-hour interview for a thousand-word story that I have to have completed and to my editor by midnight.  Being a journalist is rough, even at the university level.
Throughout working at the Free Press for a semester and a half now, I’ve thought about quitting a hundred times. With having to deal with writers not making deadlines, copyeditors tearing my work to pieces, working 20 hours most weekends and eating leftover pizza for just about every meal,  it’s not exactly an ideal job choice.

But this past weekend I had an experience that kind of changed my attitude.

Last Friday night, I drove up to Lewiston to see this band called Skösh play. I had never actually listened to their music or even had a chance to look into them much before I set out. A friend I work with had mentioned them to me, there are USM students in the band and they had just won the Young & Free Maine 2013 Soundoff (Which is awesome. They get free recording time and get to play at Kahbang music festival this summer), so it was worth taking a look. Sometimes you just have to take a risk and go with what you’ve got in front of you. I had no idea what to expect. I had talked to their drummer and vocalist, Jedidiah, over email a bit and he seemed excited, but who isn’t about free promotion, right?

So anyway, I get there and they’re awesome. I mean, I don’t go to see a lot of live music, but these guys have to be one of the most upbeat, energetic bands I’ve watched. They played a set of covers at Fusion, this Ramada Inn up there, and EVERYONE is dancing all over the place to these guys. From Lynyrd Skynyrd to 2pac to everything Top 40 to that god-awful Gangnam Style song. All of it is funky and they twisted every song to give it a little of their own flavor.

In between their sets I got to sit down and talk with them. Just talked with them. I wouldn’t even call it an interview because it was so relaxed. I basically just got to hangout with them and record our conversation.

I don’t want to get into too much detail (because I have a lot of other things to do tonight), but it was the most, if only, fun I’ve had being a journalist. I was so excited to write the story when I drove back to Portland that I accidentally got in the northbound lane and drove to Augusta before turning around. I was pissed, but pumped up enough to let it slide.

Wrote the story. It was really easy because everyone was so interesting. Simple. Loved it.

Jump back into the real world of journalism.

The story is too big, copy editors found out that I can’t actually write. Once printed, the delivery guy flaked and the paper didn’t even get out til Tuesday night. Tuesday! It sucks not being able to see your work immediately. It’s like carrying a baby, giving birth and having a doctor tell you he’ll go grab it for you when he gets around to it.

Okay, I might be exaggerating, but still. The story is posted online though, which is cool, except no one really reads online. Or so I thought.

I’m walking through Bullmoose on Tuesday night, buying cheap books to get rid of some stress and an employee comes up to me.

“Hey, you work for the Free Press, right?”

Jesus Christ. What’d I do? We only ever get feedback when we messed something up. I said yes. Apparently she is dating the bassist from the band and was at the show on Friday. She loved the article and thought I took some great photos, too.

This was the first time I had been approached about a story and gotten such positive feedback (Minus my ex-girlfriend when she told me she read all my stories.)

When I get home I see that the band shared the article on their Facebook page and are loving it! I couldn’t stop smiling after seeing people enjoying my work.

I feel completely rejuvenated and have promised my editor that I won’t quit for a while.

I know this was kind of a brain dump, but if you can take anything from this it’s that you need to stick with things. Life’s rough. Everyone has awful things going on that are stressing them out til they can’t sleep at night. The real rewards come when you can make yourself work through that. Really. Whatever you’re doing right now, keep doing it. I promise it’ll be worth it eventually.

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One response

  1. Lucille Siegler | Reply

    Awesome Sam. If you feel like quitting again, let me know. I’ll bring in something peanut butter to keep you going.

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