I'd love to say that journalism is smooth sailing but from my experience some editors and fellow writers have not necessarily given someone like me the courtesy of reading a pitch in a timely manner or giving me a helpful response and there are at least a dozen ways in which someone else can make what I do more difficult. These people aren't necessarily bad or doing anything wrong but their main affect on me is that I have a need to give my appreciation to the people who have been helpful to me when they easily couldn't. I can't guarantee that these people aren't horrible either but to me they have all deserved a thank you.
So here goes:
By far, my favorite subjects this year were the McCoy family of Washington State who had the time of their lives at the National Spelling bee and enabled me to experience their joy over the course of a week aside from being extremely good as interview subjects.
Then there's the people on the PR and event production side of things. In particular, the Scripps National Spelling Bee, The World Fire Games dodgeball tournament, the Ugly Sweater 5k, and the Mercy Street screening (where I went behind the scenes and interviewed the producers) were four of the coolest things I've ever been a part of, so whoever ran those events, keep doing what you are doing and thanks for letting me be part of the ride. The PR agency that allowed me to interview the talent behind Mercy Street: I have no idea why you left me in a room alone with actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead, director followed by former Star Trek actress Roxanne Dawson, but be assured that all I did was forget quicker than usual what I was going to ask. I've had somewhat of a whirlwind covering FX's Archer and I appreciate the sincerity and honesty of a certain PR rep for FX networks in dealing with some tricky waters I had to navigate this past April. There's also good evidence that this particular person read my reviews and liked them which would have likely doubled my readership so yay.
Beyond that, I'd like to thank my friend Adam Spector for running his discussion group and making me feel like part of a community here. Adam was generous enough to cross-blog with me and incorporated that into a group discussion which was a thrill. Adam's film column is here.
To top it all off, Spector generously agreed to squeeze my friend Will Harris into the discussion schedule which brings me to the next name on my list. I was happy to meet Will Harris in person this year and give him a speaking gig but it's hard to truly repay Will for all his generosity. I have no idea how Will can even keep up with the constant barrage of questions I level at him and before I met him, I was fully prepared to believe that "Will Harris" wasn't an actual person but an internet call center in the Philippines managing a correspondence with me. To follow the incredible Will Harris and hear about his interviews with some of Hollywood's biggest stars, check him out on twitter here.
Speaking of other writers I know, I have to extend a thank you to a former videostore manager in Portland, Maine who now devotes all his time to writing named Dennis Perkins who was my "Halt and Catch Fire" doppelganger this past summer. Perkins has occasionally lent an ear to me over the past year over FB chat and twitter and telephone and Skype and visits to his house at 2 in the morning. Ok, the last three items on that list are not true but that doesn't make Dennis' contributions any less important. I'm making a special mention of Dennis here because, as far as I can tell, Dennis is just an intrinsically good person who doesn't realize how nice he is and so I have had trouble letting Dennis know that he has been unusually kind to me. I thanked him for accepting my Facebook request and he simply said "of course" like befriending a writer you've never met before in life who wants advice on how to write like you is just no big deal. So thanks Dennis and if everyone else wants to also enjoy unusually good person Dennis, give him a big bear hug. Bearing that, follow him on twitter and cheer on his pwnage of the English language at @DennisPerkins5.
Speaking of people who you should enjoy on Twitter, there are a bunch of really important writers out there who I personally have enjoyed like Daniel Fienberg, Emily Nussbaum, Chris Becker, Cory Barker and Matt Zoller Seitz on Twitter (they're all big and enormously famous, so I'm sure googling them will reveal them and I'm too lazy to look up five more twitter handles). These guys have made a conscious effort to dole out advice and conversation to help a more small-time writer like myself and that's a big deal. Becker, in particular, has entertained me at my most bored moments by conversing with me on Facebook. There's also Daniel T Walters who doesn't consider himself big-time, so just follow him on Twitter anyway at @danieltwalters.
Over at Cracked, I have to give a thanks to an enigmatic writer known as Tara Marie who just popped up out of the blue and saw one of my entries to completion (pausing briefly to rescue several Metropolitan citizens from a burning building). I also have to give props to the interview team for giving me a chance to prove myself, Kier Harris (@notanotherkier) for tipping me off to another editor, and my friend Evan Symon, who like Will Harris, I had the pleasure of meeting this year. Evan has been a tremendous source of support through the tough times and you should give him some love by dropping everything you're doing and spending the next 6-8 hours reading all of his great work in chronological order. In fact, thank you to everyone at Cracked for providing an improved environment this year for me to work productively in.
-Thanks to my friend Liz for making me a special guest on her podcast twice this year. I've never done a podcast before but I've watched other people brag on Twitter about being on a podcast, so now I have something to brag about too. Her podcast is here.
-My sister has a friend who if I'm not mistaken has recently read my writing and complimented me on it and has even agreed to help me with one of my latest articles.