That went by the wayside after about a year as a result of changes in editors — no big surprise in the freelance world, especially with new publications. But as a result of having to think and write every week on current topics, I really got the bug for opinion writing and am trying to find ways to get back into a column.
As I was sitting at dinner Saturday night at one of our favorite pasta & pizza places, I realized perhaps the way to go, at least in making some connections, is to loiter more at this restaurant, or at least in the general neighborhood!
As we were talking over a glass of Chianti and some pasta, we realized there are plenty of high-profile, journalist regulars we’ve spotted from our table over the last few years, like Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, Tim Russert of Meet the Press and Chris Mathews of Hardball, just to name a few. In our house, we tend to be news junkies, so for us, these are real groupie moments — I don’t need to see Streisand walking down the street, just give us Bob Schieffer!
How to parlay those “brushes with greatness” into real contacts? I suppose I could throw my business cards at them as they wander by, but that seems a bit forward and could possibly be deemed an assault. No need to get the police involved here.
Then, there’s always the fan-like drooling I could try (“Oh, Mr. Milbank, I just LOVE you on Countdown with Keith Olbermann!”) But that would probably just result in an uncomfortable ‘Thank you’ as he hurries on by, hoping that I don’t follow him home.
Given that I’m not a person who easily introduces herself to strangers, or one who can come up with clever and memorable comments on the spur of the moment, I decided that I just need to let myself be inspired and soak up any molecules of journalistic creativity and vision I can get from following their work and watching them from afar. That’s good news for the pizza place — I’ll be having dinner there a lot more often!