Fair Job

(Sunday Paper, Volume I, Issue 2)

I am not a big fan of talking on the phone.

I mean, I'll do it. But I have to psych myself up for it. And, given the opportunity, I'll let someone else make the call. (Like, if we're ordering a pizza for example.)

So it's kind of funny that for a lot of the writing I currently do I have to call people on the phone.

Especially last week.

For the past year or so I've been writing for a magazine called Destinations - it's a magazine that is inserted into certain newspapers in Illinois and upstate and western New York. It's a lot of travel articles - day trips, family fun, that kind of thing. (You may remember this is the magazine for which I wrote about going to the Baseball Hall of Fame.)

Well, last week my assignment was to do a roundup of some of the county fairs in Illinois. Not terribly difficult, but a whole lot of legwork. I had to make more than a dozen phone calls, sometimes to a phone number associated with the fair, sometimes to a county chamber of commerce, sometimes to some kind of third party whose connection to the fair wasn't entirely clear but who ended up having the information I needed. A bit of a scramble, but I found all the info I needed and met my deadline.

But the funny thing is, every time I write an article like this, and speak to a person in a small town chamber of commerce in some other corner of the country, I feel like I'm learning something about other people. I'm asking questions about their town, or their area's particular attractions, and they like talking about it. It's kind of fun.

I kind of like it.

Just don't tell my wife.

I'd still rather she be the one who calls to order a pizza.


*I alluded to this last week, but it's worth reiterating...I like to balance my writing. Since the last week or so was so heavy on the assignment-based writing I've been taking the initiative to write more creatively the past week-plus. That's part of why I brought back the Sunday Paper...but I've also been writing and looking to place some other essays. 

*Luckily I've been getting pretty steady freelance work lately too. I love writing the personal essays, but unless they're getting published every day (which, you may have noticed, they're not) they're not paying the bills. 


*The funny thing about the Boston comedy scene I've found since I've started doing comedy is, unless you're connected to the scene, it doesn't hit you in the face. It seems like unless you search out a show, you won't know it's happening. You may occasionally stumble upon something if you live in Boston or Cambridge, but it's easy to overlook. I didn't realize before I started performing just how many opportunities there were to see a comedy show. Anyway, that's why I'll let you know every now and again of some places you should check out if you're looking to see a show. Like this: Every Monday there's a comedy show downstairs at McGreevy's on Boylston Street that starts at 8pm. The show started in March, and I hadn't made it out until this week...I didn't have a chance to get out to many shows this past week, so I took advantage of having Monday night to go and went to McGreevy's for the first time. The downstairs is a really cool spot, and I know they always have a great lineup. Worth checking out.

*This week I'm performing in Quincy on Wednesday - at Maggy's Lounge, show starts at 7:30pm. This is always a fun show - I've enjoyed it every time I've been a part of it. It's a mix of improv and stand-up, and sometimes there are also sketches. It's called "What Else Ya Gonna Do Wednesday?" - keep an eye out for the Facebook event - it hadn't been created yet as of this posting. They usually have some kind of really cool picture to accompany the event.

What I've Been Enjoying

*I love podcasts. I listen to a lot of them. One of my favorites that you probably don't know about is Learn To Take A Joke, a comedy podcast put together by a comedian friend of mine, Ryan Chani, and his friend Matt Murray. I like the podcast for a few reasons - first of all, the concept is a great one. They talk to comedians about one of their jokes and we get to know both the comedian and some of their material. But I also love the way they dive into the material, because they ask what I would want to know: Is this inspired by something that actually happened? How long have you been working on this joke? Does it do well every time on stage? Did it always? And so on. It's a really great listen. They're pretty consistent putting out an episode every other week - this week's features Nick Chambers, a very funny Boston-area comedian. If you're like me and feel like you need to listen to all of the episodes, I highly encourage you to do so. There are only 29, so it's a manageable task. And you'll hear some funny jokes and great conversation if you do it. This link will take you to the Learn To Take A Joke Facebook page, where you can figure out which way to best listen to the podcast.


*I appreciate those who weighed in on how I should number the Sunday Papers. I figure this is a big enough re-boot (new location, different-enough content) that it's worth starting over again. Except instead of starting with "Year" I'm going to call it "Volume". Therefore, this is Volume I, Issue 2. I think I'll get into that a little more next week. (And, upon rereading this paragraph, there is NO way anyone cares about this. But I care about it so disproportionately much that it makes up for all of your lack of cares.)

*Because of the holiday weekend last week I'm not sure everyone caught the post about the return of the Sunday Paper. So here's last week's entry, just in case you missed it and want to get up to speed.