I first started writing for weekly papers 20 years, as an intern for San Francisco Weekly. At the time, to make financial ends meet, I also had to paint houses. It was a tale of two jobs: White collar writer, combing City Hall and the San Francisco clubs for stories, and then putting on my scrubby blue collar clothes to make real money.
One evening I was riding the BART subway back from the east bay, grubby from sanding and prepping an Oakland mansion (the guy had invented the first photoscanner!).
A businessman entered the same BART car, where I was sitting, and gave me a scornful once over. He then sat down across the aisle, unfolded the on-the-street copy that week from SF Weekly and turned to the feature I had written on shark fishing (my first cover story!), nodding and smiling as he read. It was an affirming moment for a young writer.
This morning, I sat at Palate (yes, shout out to my favorite Bend coffeeshop!) writing a book review for the upcoming issue. The older couple next to me was talking about this week’s feature story, about the heating up of the Bend housing market. The gist of the story is a cautionary tale.
But the couple was talking in excited terms about flipping a house.
I wanted to insert, “um, no, actually, the point of the article was ‘be careful, the market is hot, it could burn you.’” (Apparently the images of a house floating/sinking and being circled by sharks wasn’t warning enough.)
Oh well. I’m happy people are reading the paper.