Rare newsletter

I've been getting newsletters from various people and companies for a while, and I've even written newsletters. But recently I got a really good newsletter from Dobie Maxwell, who's a comedian. You'd think his newsletters would be light, funny, and even superficial, but his latest newsletter has a lot of honesty that is rare.

Usually newsletters, even end-of-year holiday letters, are filled with positive information that is also self-congratulatory to make the reader feel impressed. But Dobie's newsletter from this month has sincere feelings that are pretty much never seen in newsletters or in those boastful holiday cards that make the family seem extraordinary. Such honesty is also rare nowadays in blogs (which I've mentioned before), but he's consistently written such posts at his blog, too (though he discontinued it last year to write a book).

Anyway, he said I can post an excerpt from his newsletter, so here it is:
My whole life is taking on a new direction of late, and I’m not 100% sure where it’s going but I know I’m really liking it. Gone forever are the days when I devoted the all of my being to chasing the dream of being an entertainer. No more being on the road 45 to 50 weeks a year – year after year after year. I’ve had my fill of that.

The thrill of being on stage is still fun, but only to a degree. When I’m off stage I am finding there is a lot more to life than just trying to get to the next gig. There is a huge price that comes with chasing the showbiz dream, and I just don’t think it’s worth it – at least not for me. I feel myself yearning to experience new challenges.

One of if not the most delightful things that has happened in my life has been the continuing reconnection with my siblings. It has been exactly what I have wanted since I was a small child, and having it happen has been nothing short of a miracle. I never thought it was possible, but after a lifetime of waiting it really is happening.

Not caring in the least what happens show business wise has ironically given me a new found power I have never felt before. There is all kinds of sucking up to be done to people of questionable integrity, and that’s pretty much what show biz is. I never enjoyed that part of it, and it has showed. I have managed to alienate myself with more than one “powers that be”, and that has caused undue pain and stress.

Now, I could not care less about any of that. The people that don’t like me aren’t going to change their opinion any time soon, so why try to change their minds? I’m not going to let them control my ultimate destiny, even though they think they do.

They might be able to book or not book me for some comedy shows, but that’s as far as it goes. They can’t stop the growth of my soul, and that’s what has happened in this past year with my family reconnection. There is a part of me that was asleep for decades, and now it’s wide awake and enjoying life. Comedy can’t touch that.

The newsletter is longer than what I've posted here, and if you want to sign up for them, email him at dobiemaxwell@aol.com


A good writing gig

I was going to name this post "The Best Writing Gig" but I decided against it because I don't know if "best" is possible in anything. But for the past year, I've been a news writer at one of the most successful news radio stations in the US, and probably the top radio station in Chicago.

I've been writing for several years for different companies, and because I'm not an introvert, it's been sort of tough in some situations because there wasn't much, or any, in-person human contact. I assumed that's how writing is, which is why I've never done it full time. However, when I got the news writing gig, I discovered it had these positive elements:

1 - I'm really part of a team. I work with an editor, who sets the stories and content; an on-air news anchor, who reads what I write; and an assistant producer, who's in charge of audio that appears in some of the stories (some stories are only text while others include audio). Each of us plays a role, and we each have to do our job to make the group strong. So instead of writing alone at a computer and sending out the copy to someone who I might never meet offline, I am in a room with other people, which helps to satisfy my more extroverted characteristics.

2 - What I write is immediate. Even though the deadlines are tight, what I write is read on the air within an hour of when it's finished. I can also hear the person read what I write, so I know that what I write really matters. The urgency forces me to be quick and correct while also making sense for the listeners. The challenge gives me a rush and also satisfies another aspect of my personality, which is intensity. Other types of writing may have a deadline, but I usually just send it out and don't know when the person will respond or what they think. I also have to motivate myself to finish the work because there's no one physically there waiting for it to use it as urgently. It's satisfying to know the value of what I produce.

3 - I'm working with professionals. Radio is full of people who knew someone to get their job and others who are hired for reasons other than skill. But everyone I currently work with is good at what they do, and they take it seriously. They didn't get their jobs because they knew someone but because they had to prove themselves in some way, through tests (writers have to take a timed writing test to be considered), airchecks, and experience. It's probably one of the few radio stations that is so professional, and the standards are high. It's like playing with a sports team that's won a bunch of championships.

Basically, I've done a lot of solitary writing and translation work that is really suited to an introvert. I love language, but I don't always want to sit at a computer all alone working on pieces that are sent out into the ether. When I started this blog, I was working a lot more with language in such a situation. After taking some detours, I'm back in the language world, but I'm even more convinced that I don't want to just float in an orbit around the connected world alone at my desk. So I'm glad I have this good writing gig to offset other work that is more indicative of isolating, technology-driven modern society (which is a subject for another post).