Whatever exciting personal news you think you have, I assure you that it pales in comparison to the birth of a baby. I should know – my nephew was born on the same day that New York was supposed to get three feet of snow and only one family member asked me if I knew where my boots were.
Everyone’s only real concern was the baby – and rightly so. I also couldn’t be bothered with a blizzard when there was a video clip of a two-day old hiccuping in my inbox.
“So what’s new with you?” my brother asked me this past weekend when I went to visit.
It was a tough question because I doubt that anything can be as exciting as becoming a parent. But I gave him my best news anyway: a few weeks ago, a trade publication for PR people contacted me via Twitter and asked me to write a guest blog about how I’ve used Tinder to network with reporters. The post got accepted last week and it’s going to run around Valentine’s Day – which means that I have at least one thing to look forward to on Feb. 14.
“I think it ended up being a tough sell for them because I wrote in my normal voice,” I explained. “I mean, part of the post was about hitting my head on a Christmas wreath while trying to hail a cab. But they still took it, so whatever.”
“Wow, that is just incredible,” my brother said. “They probably need more funny articles… When I read Stormwater magazine, their articles can be really boring.”
I’ve never heard of Stormwater magazine, but the fact that it exists doesn’t surprise me – nor does it shock me to hear that their content is a bit of a snooze. Working in PR, I’ve actually built a career asking the editors of magazines like CATStoday and Scrapbook Business and Pest Control Technology if they would consider a contributed article from one of my clients. And even if I’m the one who does the writing, the pieces end up being dull because so far, I haven’t met an executive who would let me throw in anecdotes about spilling drinks or sneezing on people.
But my brother got me thinking. Maybe I could ghost write an article for him. A funny one.
“Well tell me a story,” I said. “I’ll write it and if you like it, we can try and place it.”
My brother spent the next several minutes describing in great detail his main engineering project, which, if I followed correctly, is a very elaborate drainage system with some trees planted on top of it. Apparently, it’s a big deal and people from all over the world come to see it. That sounded promising – and yet, the highlight of his story was when a man from Canada rolled his eyes during a meeting.
“He didn’t believe our results,” my brother shrugged.
“I have to be honest,” I said. “You’re not giving me much to work with here.”
“Oh forget it,” he said. “I don’t have any stories. You would have to be there.”
I would actually love to be there. I mean, what I wouldn’t give to go somewhere different every day, pick out the most interesting bits and then write about them in a way that made them even more interesting. If only there was a job like that… one that pays a living wage, I mean.
But until I find that position, I’ll just have to get creative. I’m thinking there might be market in storytelling for a private audience. Like for my nephew, perhaps.
When I got home this weekend, I wrote a story for him about the first time we met. It started with the line, “Before you, there was a cat.” Then I told him that the day I went to visit him for the first time, I had just gotten over a cold and I didn’t want to hold him. So instead I spent the afternoon squatting along-side him and commenting on how perfect he was. I can only assume that his father couldn’t take any more of my hovering and finally handed me a bottle of hand sanitizer and a surgical mask. I suddenly had six pounds of perfect baby in my arms.
Not only did my nephew not cry when I held him (I almost did, for the record), but he also perked right up. I saw his dark, shiny eyes open for the first time that day and stare intently into mine.
“He knows something’s different!” I said to my brother, amazed by how alert the baby was. “He’s totally focused.”
My brother let me repeat myself at least twice before saying, “Um, Nova. Do you think it has anything to do with the fact that you’re wearing a mask? Of course you look different to him, half your face is covered!”
I suppose that could be it. But since I’m the one telling the story, I can control the version. I plan to tell my nephew that when he saw me, he knew even at ten days old that he had met his biggest fan.
After his father, of course.