Monday, October 15, 2012

A desperate writer working in the dark

Tom Gillispie's resume
In the fall of 2006, I was covering a high-school football playoff game in southwest North Carolina; actually, I was trying to cover the game. They turned the lights off in the pressbox, and I couldn't see to write my notes. And since my computer didn't have a backlit screen, I couldn't write on the computer, either.

To make matters worse, they had about 20 people in a pressbox meant for 15 people, and it was impossible to work. So at halftime, I went into the stands. I figured I'd have room to work, and I'd have enough light to write. I could write on my notebook, true, but the batteries didn't work in the computer.

After the game, I called the paper and gave them the score and stats. I told them I'd write on the bus back.

The problem was that I couldn't plug the computer into an outlet on the bus, and the bus driver wouldn't turn the lights on so I could write. So, desperate, I asked the coach if we could switch places. "Rudy" was playing on the monitors around the bus, and in the flickering lights of the football movie I wrote the game by long hand on a yellow notepad. About 15 minutes before deadline, I called the paper and read the story to an editor.


Oh, there's a postscript to this story. The next week, my wife bought me a small light with a head piece, so I could type and write when the game was blacked out. Naturally, the next pressbox didn't have lights, either, but my little Borg light worked perfectly. After the game, I did my interviews and went back to the pressbox to finish writing. The pressbox folk locked me in and left; I finished, sent my story via email, locked the pressbox, walked to my car and drove home.

Piece of cake.


More blog entries by Tom Gillispie
• Advice for be and would-be novelists

Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie

EDITOR@WORK blog entries

Entries from The Dog Blog

Blog entries from The Auto Racing Journal
(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
(the book of great NASCAR stories)

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