Sunday, January 24, 2016

My Career in Journalism (creative non-fiction)

My parents lead me through the maze of buildings that, together, form Red River Community College. We stand in front of classroom 101-A.

 "What if I can't spell or find the right word?" I'm dyslexic. Spelling and vocabulary always cause me problems. 

"You have a dictionary and thesaurus," my parents remind me.

I pat my backpack and walk into the classroom. I choose a desk at the front of the room so I won't be distracted by inventing stories about all the other hopefuls.

(I may not have been a journalist, but I have made the news. 
This article appeared in a rural Manitoba newspaper. 2009)

A man with graying hair closes the door with a thud. He frowns at my books. "Clear your desks. Everything you need should already be in your head." He stands like a mountain in front of me. "If you're going to be a journalist, by now, you should know how to spell."

The room fills with laughter.

I sweep my hand across my desk. The dictionary falls to the floor, followed by the thesaurus.

(This article was published in the magazine Aqua:  Gulf Island Living Winter 2009/10)

The man walks down aisle after aisle, stopping at each desk. "This test." He places a stapled document print side down in front of me. "Consists of short answer questions plus four essay questions." He eases into the chair, behind the desk, at the front of the room. "You may turn the test over and begin." Announcement made, he props his legs on the desk and buries his nose in a newspaper.

I skim the first page. What is the name of... When was the... Names. Dates. I gulp. I don't know any of this. But who cares? I don't need to know. This is history. I want to write the news. Something will happen; I'll be there; I'll write about it. I sigh. But only if I pass this stupid entrance exam.

The sound of pens on paper and pages being turned is deafening.

The man rustles his newspaper. "Twenty minutes left. And let me stress, in journalism, speed matters."

Applicant after applicant set their pens down, march to the front of the room and deposit their test.

Well, I don't have to be here for the rest of my life, I tell myself and add my blank test to the pile. My career in journalism is over.

(front page of The Islands Independent 2011)


What would have happened if I passed that test and others, graduated and became a journalist. Would I still have a job?

Postmedia lays off staff; Vancouver Sun/Province combine newsrooms

Sharing my author journey...

There was something missing in one of my picture book manuscripts. 

The end.

Thanks to Ann Whitford Paul's Writing Picture Books, I found it.

[Act one:] The characters and problems are introduced...
The last act contains the resolution to the problem.  (p. 87)


Darlene said...

You are probably a better writer because you didn´t become a journalist! Life is funny that way.

Leanne Dyck said...

So true, Darlene. Most of the things I stressed about are vague memories. But the things that I love doing--like writing--make my life complete.

Laurie Buchanan said...

Leanne — I'm in complete agreement with Darlene; you're probably a much better writer because you didn´t become a journalist!

sammee44 said...

Some things were never meant to be, Leanne. I think we had the same man as our potential instructor. I did learn one thing--reporting the news was not my thing after all!

You're a great writer and it is a pleasure to visit your blog whenever I can. And I can tell you love what you do. . .Cheers, J

Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you, Laurie. : )

Leanne Dyck said...

I wonder if he was the same guy, Sammee44?
Thank you for your very kind words.

sammee44 said...

It's funny that I still remember his name--it was Petersen and I've often thought of him as a wannabe journalist who didn't quite make the grade himself. He was probably a very good journalist but since I was very young and impressionable at that time, I like to think otherwise!

Leanne Dyck said...

I don't think I even learned the name of my protector. I think that's what you call someone who supervises entrance exams.
I have a horrible memory for names, but in university I had a very memorable (for all the wrong reasons) prof. To this day, whenever I see someone from my university days all we have to do is say the prof's name to share a chuckle. But we made it through. : )