I’m putting this on my off-Facebook site because it’s personal, me to you, and not part of the informational flow that we blend into the Daily Drip. The secret reason for all this late-in-the-year vacation time, and nobody has told me I can’t reveal this, is that I promised myself last Spring that I would retire from the unhealthful 3 AM alarm at the end of the year, when my contract is up, and declare an end to a career which has been a childhood dream come true. I saved up most of my annual allotment of vacation days so I could exit around Thanksgiving, or perhaps on my annual date of December 1, and not have “farewells” interfering with the Christmas experience of K103.
But some long heart-to-heart talks with management people who’d prefer that I stay resulted in my agreeing to keep doing a job that I really do love, with a couple of adjustments that we’ll phase in after the new year to ease the fatigue situation. I’m surprised and grateful that our management took the initiative to work it out, because I quite sincerely believe that I have the very best job in my field–best station, best colleagues, best listeners (and readers), best place in the world to live–and that we should keep rolling as long as it makes practical and sustainable sense.
I have to do my part. I must find within myself the discipline to say goodnight to my sweetie and go upstairs and sink immediately into dreamland–without reading another chapter from the towering stack on the bedside table, watching another segment of Brian Williams, learning another classic rock riff on the guitar–or crafting another paragraph for the next morning’s Daily Drip.
The DD’s become a hell of a lot of work. I spend part of every weekend sketching an outline and painting in some elements for the week’s Drips to come, including the sunrise times and the today-in-history and deeper important things that require research to be original, like the Mulugeta Seraw story last week. Those are the starting bones; the work of writing the flesh, the actual news of the day, takes place over two or three hours in the afternoon, evening, and the following morning. And now I’m my own web guy, posting links for the TMSG stories that are sometimes more popular than anything else. For someone who likes to write, it’s all great fun, and I’m often fairly happy with the product (except for the infernal typographical and mental-shortcut errors).
But reader feedback often points out that I’ve created an unrealistic expectation for a one-man operation. Where was the Winterhawks score? Why so little about the ballot measures in the last election? Why, since I often include commentary, did I go so easy on Ted Wheeler’s constitutionally-dubious protest proposal? And why, aside from major developments, don’t I seem to feast on the juicy low fruit that is Donald Trump–or fully reflect the alarm that most people I know feel? (On that last point: it’s because others can do it much better. And if we started, that’s all we’d do. And when something is so jaw-dropping that I must say something, a reader in a red ball cap will want to tout the roaring economy. And then I have to write about the concept of a “bubble,” and about how we need conservatives to be the fiscally sane ones, not the tipsy sailors, to guard against freighting our future with debt. And by then, nobody’s reading).
I’m in love with little-known facts and significant anniversaries, as part of the weekend prep, but I’ve already tried out and dropped lots of things. Daily Quotes. Setlists of upcoming concerts, and a majority of the celebrity birthdays, which people sometimes point out that I “missed.” And sometimes I “miss” one that I shouldn’t–like Joni Mitchell’s recent 75th.
The answer to why the Drip lacks so many things that citizens should get in a news service is that it’s just me doing this, part-time and sometimes when I should be sleeping. Moreover, I’m trying to be everything to everyone. All things to all people. A soothing informational welcome to the day, but telling the news of the day. Sometimes that’s a jarring mismatch.
And it’s either too damn long, or doesn’t cover enough, or both. This Daily Drip will never be perfect. I just want it to be pretty good. And I’d love your patience and feedback, as we move into a year when I’ll be experimenting with techniques of brevity….perhaps more ellipses…and with finally putting a hard clock on the prep time.
Thank you! Happy Thanksgiving!