Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Great Writer? Someday? Please?

Call me Ishmael.

What's that? This isn't the blog for ENGL 384? This is MEDIA 384? Oh.

In that case, just call me Matt.

I'm no Herman Melville, if that weren't abundantly clear by now, though it is the fault of another great American novelist that I became a journalist. Since falling in love with poetry shortly after falling in love with my fourth grade teacher, I've pretty much always wanted to be a writer, having been convinced by my father that lawyering is a sad, miserable existence. (Cheer up, Dad!) My next intellectual affair was with Ernest Hemingway, in eleventh grade American Lit—had a crush on that teacher, too, I have to admit—which got me thinking that maybe the reason I didn't ever have anything good or interesting to write about in the first place was I was just a boring suburban kid from Pittsburgh of all places. (I know it sounds like a hardy town. It's not, at least not anymore.)

See, Hemingway had Done Stuff. Important Things. He'd ditched his pseudo-cosmopolitan Midwestern upbringing just as I would mine, gone off to war, been in bullfights, smoked cigars, traveled the world. (He was also rather misogynist, not the best thing in this context, I realize, but I promise I'm not. Also, let's not get into the whole suicide thing. This is all about writing, I promise. Now where were we.)

Ah yes, the blog. Something I know all too much about. For here I sit each day, far from Pittsburgh, but maybe not as far as I'd once hoped or thought. Here I sit blogging, and writing. A desk jockey at The Architect's Newspaper. Don't get me wrong. I love my job. I came by it after another academic fling, in a class called "Architecture and Post-Modern Culture," which I took because it sounded hip and cool, but by the end of the first session, it totally changed my view of the so-called "BUILT ENVIRONMENT" and I was hooked. The Paper really is the perfect mix of everything I could hope for: architecture, journalism, and New York. I even get to get beat up by Mayor Bloomberg's goons once in a while. (More on that some other time.)

As you may recall, I landed at the Paper as an intern, having come to New York for the summer after my senior year, though don't forget, not quite graduated, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this. After three months at the Canarsie Courier—I got to cover the fifth anniversary of 9/11—I waltzed into our Murray Street office to inquire about work. After a cursory glance at my resume, I got the job. Well, internship. I was thrilled, though, little did I know, the Paper's actually usually in desperate need of interns. Still, few of them doggedly work their way up to Associate Editor, Web Guru, and Chief Political Correspondent. Not to brag or anything.

Along the way I probably had one too many hard-drinking nights—don't forget, I'm trying to play at Hemingway here—including one where I fortunately kept things together enough to impress a cute little Jewish girl from Philadelphia who, like myself, wound up at an Astoria walk-up for a party on an unusually balmy January night. (You remember the one. We had a high of 70 that day.) Even though we were at different parties in the same building, we managed to find each other, and it's been magic ever since. We got engaged on January 6, our third "anniversary."

I'm sure there's more to say, but I'm out of space and time. Call me Einstein.

[Ed. note: Oy! This is the first extemporaneous piece this guy's written in a long time. Maybe the blowhard should stick to journalism.]

(Sideshow Bob courtesy Matt Groening)

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