m wood pen

freelance illustrator: have pen, will travel

m wood cornell college king chapelall the news that’s fit to print:

my great pal sent me a screenshot of her goodreads newsletter this morning, featuring, can you believe it, my little cocktail book!

this sent my mind drifting, mixing and concocting a medley of memories, most notably as i’ve just returned from a hilarious college homecoming weekend. the common thread, conjured up my pre-coffee mind, seems to be ‘news’.

the goodreads newsletter, though digitally created and transmitted, reminded me of my first paid freelance job. college summer, while waitressing at a local private golf club restaurant, was also in charge of writing the club newsletter! typewriter, interviewing that month’s birdie or champ or ladies doubles: i’m not sure i’ve quite got the knack for golf vernacular, as i was raised playing tennis, but i’m certain that during that summer, pounding mercilessly at the keys of my typewriter, my reporting made sense.  i even jazzed up the publication by adding, yes, who’s surprised here: a few simple little illustrations to pepper up the stories.

summer bonus: served a hot dog to cubs great ernie banks, served brunch to ted turner’ and his weekend date, and rounded out the celebrity sitings by handing a paunchy, hung-over evil knievel a club sandwich with a side of fries.

then, i remembered that i was, inexplicably, the news director for my college radio station back in the days where you lugged your lps (long playing, youngsters), or more commonly known as records, up the merciless hill to the offices of krnl. my stint as news director, which paid a whopping 15.00 per month (stretched out at a weekly joe’s double bubble, i was made in the shade!), involved getting the des moines register delivered to my dorm room.  literally.  never understanding, as still don’t, why the sports section was printed on peach paper, i would scour the reportage of the real news folks and write up a general summary of what on earth was happening in the world.  i guess i must have dropped this off (again, typewritten) to the station person or team (no idea whatsoever), and then, voila: the college dj’s were legally bound to read off my copy several times a day.

hard news.

i also had a radio show with my outrageously kookie friend, rhonda.  she was an exotic in those fields of eastern iowa: new york bred, jewish, outspoken, perhaps something leaning towards a vegetarian: never had met anyone at all like her.

well, this past weekend, i spent a few days tramping all over our old college grounds, and the little town that nestles the base of it’s hilltop.  we had come up with the crazy plan to take over the college station, as ‘mature’ gals in their early fifties, and enjoy an hour-long ‘alumni tribute show’. having ‘connections’, i was in charge of tapping into my resources to, in rhonda’s words, “make it happen.”

there’s no snafu like a college-kid one!

our alumni pal happens also to be the college communication director, and she managed to track down the kid who was in charge of krnl. after a flurry of email exchanges, it was revealed that the station was currently ‘out of order’.  after a recent renovation and expansion of our hallowed eating and campus hub, the radio team had yet to set up and plug in the equipment! fingers crossed as i drove west, and rhonda boarded a jet bound for the same destination, the question burning in both of our minds: will krnl be running by the time we arrive for homecoming weekend?

during this wait, i received countless queries from my former dj partner, anticipating the news that, indeed, we will be going on air!

“what’s our playlist?”

“do we bring our ipods or iphones?”

“will they teach us how to work the equipment?”

“here are dozens of lists of top tunes from the early 80s”

“who should we interview?”

e t c e t e r a

i’ve evolved into a sort of ‘make it up as i go along’ person, and whether or not that’s good, i had really no intention of preparing for this stint, but truthfully, enjoyed every moment of rhonda’s passion in preparedness!

well, the suspense ended with a crash the night i arrived in town: unfortunately, wrote the head of the station, “tobey” (name changed to protect the innocent), who was the tech kid, had a really hard class and had too much homework to take the time to set up, plug in, and ready, the equipment. dashed, i shut down the phone and determined it would not be wise to text this devastating situation to rhonda, who was still in nyc.

the next day, face to face, i delivered the news: we would not be performing our alumni tribute show.

she nearly flew into a rage, and i am exaggerating in order to tell a better story, but let me tell you, she was a dog with a bone and would not let this go!  unbeknownst to the poor lad, the story had eventually evolved, as rhonda shared the unbelievable news with fellow friends on campus, that she’d “had it with the kid who wouldn’t get out of bed” to tend to his job! hilarious. hyperbole is the best.

not to be outdone, we decided to retrace our ancient steps and locate the radio station: as noted by one of our pals, rhonda clearly needed closure!

what followed is a set of crazy photographs as we posed, sad faced, outside of the doors of the radio station, and while leaning, discovered that the door was unlocked! pushing our way in, (really, age is just a number: we were behaving just as we did at 19), we saw a pile of dusty disarray. to add to our impromptu photoshoot, rhonda pose with a plug and some mystery piece of equipment, while i posed while grappling the official radio station microphone.

the place was a mess, and we left, feeling, well, much more settled and understanding of the task that those poor college kids had to deal with.

so, maybe next year, right?  as they say, the show must go on!

2 thoughts on “news

  1. m wood says:

    the mess that awaited us indicated that, in no way, would the flipping of a switch done much of anything! lots of laughs, so it was well worth it.

  2. After all your effort, you should have at least tried to turning everything on? Who knows? Would have made a great story if just flipping the switches got you back on the air.

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