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February 13, 2020: The Other Side of the Fence

I aspired to be a journalist. I abandoned this career path when I went on for my MFA and instead became an essayist. I sometimes have regrets about this. Today was one of those days.

I got to VCRS, and started to prepare for the book sale, in part by making sure that Rose C. Smith, who cleans and sorts children’s books, was set up properly. Then I put on my vest, went downstairs, and began sorting and categorizing books.

I heard my name on the intercom and went upstairs. Shannon, the receptionist handed me a piece of paper. Michelle White, a reporter for the local Fox News station wanted to do a story on the Bright

Judy checking out a 3-D book
Judy checking out a 3-D book

Lights Book Project. We finally got in touch with one another after a fast and furious game of phone tag. She said she was in Anchorage and would be out in the valley in half an hour.

Generally, those who live in Anchorage do not come Palmer or Wasilla. We who live in Palmer or Wasilla do go to Anchorage, and frequently. So she did not really know how long the trip was going to take.

I met up with her an hour later. She was tall and thin, about 30, with long dark hair parted in the middle. She was wearing a long purple down coat with all the news corporate logos on it. At first, I was not impressed. She was curt. She seemed to want to get the story and get back to Anchorage.

I gave her the tour and she got set up and began filming. This is what is now so interesting about television journalism. Reporters have on hand hand-held cameras and tripods. They ask questions but don’t take notes. They then take their video(s) back to the place whence they came and they edit their work down until it is (in our case) a sizeable sound bite. Being a print reporter is a lot different.

I must say Michelle ended up doing a very thorough job. She first interviewed Rose C. Smith, who was sitting at a table cleaning books. And she got some shots of her American Flag tee-shirt. She next interviewed Bill Schmidtkunz who was building a table. She then interviewed Terri Koch was standing at her desk area. Terri was the best – she got Michelle laughing.

Michelle also got shots of the bookstore, sorting area, and initial sorting area. I think she did a very good job.

Me, I got tongue tied – I didn’t sleep well last night, so I was too tired to be articulate. But I was pleased because the project (already) is getting the recognition that it deserves.

And this afternoon, people were coming in and getting books. I called it the pre-sale. I was not able to get as much work done as I’d liked – and of course, I’m now concerned because I have just one day to get ready for Saturday.

We’ll see how it goes. There is only so much one person can do on their own.

Next: 45. February 14, 2020: When You’re Smilin’

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