Friday, May 31, 2013

No. 370 – Echo

Performer: Joe Satriani
Songwriter: Joe Satriani
Original Release: Surfing with the Alien
Year: 1987
Definitive Version: Time Machine, 1993

Like I mentioned, I was introduced to Joe Satriani through Steve and Garry on the Loop. At some time after this album came out, they began to use Always With Me, Always With You as the show closer and this song as the show opener. I liked the sound of both, which led me to eventually buy the album, like a lot of other people in the Chicago area.

March 1988 was a crazy month at Harbor Country News. Advertising wanted to do a section that was centered around the bed & breakfast community. Editorial, meaning me, would produce the content. OK. I asked Advertising what it had in mind for the section, but they just said it was up to me. Fine. I came up with a few ideas of what to write about and began to assign stories.

When we closed out the regular paper two weeks before the Inns section was due, I went home and didn’t come in Thursday as was usual. Sometime late in the morning, I got a frantic call from my boss wondering where I was. Advertising is wondering what’s going on with the Inns section, because they put the layouts on my desk and the to-press deadline was in a week.

Wait … what? It’s due in two weeks. It’s for the last issue in March. No, they wanted an early press run, so it was due a week from tomorrow. This was, in fact, the first I had heard of this deadline.

With no warning, I was driving to Michigan City. I had to call my correspondents and tell them that they had to have everything to me Wednesday, not Sunday as originally had been assigned. That wasn’t fun, but the correspondents were good eggs, so they all agreed. I also had to call Bob and have him get to a few inns to shoot the art, as in now.

Then I had to call sources for the stories I was going to write—on southwest Michigan tourism and Michigan B&Bs. I also had to pick up a story from a correspondent who had a scheduling conflict. She set up the interview with an innkeeper; I just had to conduct it and write the story.

I worked nonstop into the weekend, driving to Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo to conduct a couple of interviews. Then it was time to start work on the regular section for the week before the Inns section was due. Advertising helpfully sold more ads than the week before, so that required more work to fill the pages.

Then it was back to the Inns section. I wrote my stories, edited those of others, selected the art, which wasn’t Bob’s best work, and frantically pushed everything out. Then it was right back into the regular section. This was right after River Valley’s basketball team made a run to the state finals, which I had to cover for my paper and the Michigan City News-Dispatch, so I had had no break since the start of March.

From the Thursday I found out my deadlines had been compressed to the Wednesday two weeks later when everything was gone, I must have worked 150 hours. I know for sure I worked 16-hour days every day the week the Inns section went out.

Somehow everything got done, more or less on time. My boss commended me for my work. Not everyone in the building was as complimentary, however. In the department notes, not in person, I learned that advertising was “disappointed” by the Inns section. Yeah, well, maybe next time you might provide more direction and maybe, just maybe, advance notice on the deadline, huh? A little planning and communication go a long way.

I was elated that I just survived the whole ordeal. Then Jin called to say she wanted to see the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit at the Art Institute in Chicago. She and a friend of hers would stay at a motel. I said I was only two hours away from Chicago, so why not stay with me and save some bucks? Really? You won’t mind? No, I was looking forward to having guests.

The storm at work that enveloped me all March was over, and I had no idea that I was about to be hit by lightning.

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