Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fiction Myth Buster

I've always considered myself a writer of fiction. Or at least, I wannabe fiction writer. Writing books was my first love, and what got me into journalism in the first place. As my previous blogs state, I am in love with journalism, but fiction is still my first.

In my attempts to write fiction over the years, I have learned one valuable lesson that I want to share with the world. Or at least, my blogging world. Which isn't very big, but that's beside the point. I'm sharing knowledge people.

Common Fiction Myth: Write what you know.
I hate this, because everyone thinks, upon hearing this, that they should write an autobiography, and I'm sorry, but unless you're a person who has made a significant contribution to history, or are a pop icon, no one cares. Actually, people shouldn't care if you are a pop icon, but that's another story. My point is, most of us don't have an interesting enough life to bother penning down our life story. I mean, who would buy a book about a student who has a serious fetish with her major and more siblings than she knows what to do with? Exactly, no one cares.

However, I think the person who originally said that was onto something. But rather than say, "Write what you know," I prefer to say; "Don't write what you don't know."

That dispells all the illusions of Average Joe's life story. What I think people mean with that original myth is: write about things you understand or have experienced. Not your whole life, but things you understand. For example, I'm not going to write a novel about war and blood and guts. Cause it would suck. I know nothing about it.

I once went to a writing workshop where this writer said he didn't think real fiction existed, just fictionalized experiences. I think that's a bit of stretch, but he's got a point. Just because I've never lived in a fantasy world doesn't mean I can't write about it, but I write things I know and understand into the story. Not my life story, just elements of it.

There. That's my wisdom for the week.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Facelift

It makes sense for a blog that makes so many puns on my last name to have a red background, does it not?

Well, when I started this blog a year ago, I looked for a red template, and silly Blogspot had none. Actually, none. So I settled for green, which is actually my favourite colour anyway.

But every time I open the page, it bugs me to no end when I see the title "Reddy or Not" grinning at from across a green background. It makes no sense. So yesterday at work (when I had nothing to do), I looked at my possibilities.

The background I had couldn't be made red. What silliness. The only ones I found that looked remotely decent that would comply were the one my sister has, and this one. So I picked this one.

And here's the thing; it's still not a great red, and the colours I had to pick out myself to compliment aren't perfect. I don't know what to think of my new blogpage.

You would think, as a a blogging website, Blogspot would show a little more flexibility to be creative with your background. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Extraction: An Inside Scoop

You all know I work at a dental office. My dads, actually, so I have been going to said dental office since I was a little girl. All my co-workers knew me as a patient and as their boss's daughter before my first day.

A prime example of how interesting it is to be a lifetime patient at your workplace, was today, when I had my wisdom teeth taken out. The beginning of this saga, was long ago in May, and it goes like this;

Kate (other receptionist): Elena, Deana's patient is a no show, go have your teeth cleaned.
(Later, after my cleaning)
Deana: Hey Elena, can you make a pre-d for my patient? Also, you should have your wisdom teeth out.
Me: (to patient) I just need you to sign here, (to Deana) WHAT? MY TEETH?
Deana: Yeah, yours. Go talk to your dad about it.
(Much later that day, when I finally catch up with my dad)
Me: Hey Dad, I need to have my wisdom teeth out.
Dad: Ok, do you wanna do sedation?
Me: Like I'm going to be knocked out and let some guy with sharp instruments tinker in my mouth? Please.
Dad: Ok, I'll do it. Schedule yourself an appointment. Do it at the end of the week so you can recover all weekend.

I book it for the beginning of June.
Kate: No, not there, the new people are starting then.
I book it for the end of June.
Carrie: No you can't put it there, Pam's away that week.
I book the first week of July.
Carrie: I'm away that week, do it the next week.
So, my extraction's today.

The day before, all my co-workers are looking at the schedule and saying; "Ooh, we're taking out your wisdom teeth tomorrow. Are you excited? You'll be fine, you'll be fine." Either that or; "Take some vitamin C! Have you taken 300 mg of vitamin C? Why aren't you taking more vitamin C? Leslie wishes me luck with the surgery as she heads out the door at the end of the day.

The next morning, the vitamin C argument continues and suddenly, a very interesting question comes up: who will be the lucky one to pull out my wisdom teeth. Carrie, the other receptionist is practically bouncing out of her seat wanting to do it. As a joke.....I think. And when Taryn gets to do the extraction for the kid before me, Pam wins for assisting.

Lately we've had a lot of people come into the office to have their wisdom teeth extracted. The first part, where they walk into the office, terrified usually goes something like this;

Reception: Come in, come in. How are you feeling? It'll be just fine.
Assistants: Are you nervous? Don't worry we'll freeze you so you don't feel a thing.
Any hygenists wandering by: Oh hi, I hear you're having you're wisdom teeth out. You'll do great, then you can just take it easy this weekend.

This is what I got;

Reception: Better go for lunch now Elena, it'll be your last meal. Haha! Can I please do it?
Assistants: I get to torture you! I get to torture you!
Hygenist: You'll have a puffy face! Haha!

The time of my surgery is drawing near, and I'm still up front sorting through insurance claims. My dad comes up and says he'll freeze me now. So I go back, seat myself and let him freeze me. While I'm waiting for it to kick in, I go finish the insurance claims, print day sheets for Monday and pull files for next week. I do not however, answer the phone.

As I do all this, Taryn keeps looking at my stiff face and grinning. Then finally Pam comes up, and since I'm done, tells me to go back and be a patient. My Dad comes in, I remind him to wear a lab coat, and we get to work.

Now here is the best part. I am having my wisdom teeth out. Everyone says it is so painful, and so hard. The entire time I'm completely fine. I'm more then fine, I'm joking with them, and following along with procedure I have memorized so I can explain it to patients up front. When they really need me to shut up, I'm in a kind of half doze, and I'm not even under sedation.

That's because, I'm in the chair with my Daddy, and Pam Schmam: two people I know and trust. I am totally 100% fine through the entire bloody procedure.

On the way out, everyone's telling me to take it easy, and how I did so great (after they took a look at my swollen face, that is) I get driven home by my dentist, and go back to regular life with frozen corn on my face.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

No One Likes Betty G

Alberta recently made the change to 10-digit dialling. Or, they will in September. But that means that every time you dial, you have to dial the area code, or this automated voice comes on that says;

"The local number you have dialled, must be preceded by the area code. Your call will now proceed. For future calls to this number, please dial the area code."

For someone who makes a living on the phone, this voice can get really old, really fast. Actually I haven't talked to anyone who isn't insanely annoyed and groans every time they hear that voice. Seriously, most annoying thing EVER.

One of my favourite movies is Scoop, starring Scarlett Johanson and Hugh Jackman. Not only is it about a journalist, but it's a murder mystery, and the poor victim is Betty G, a prostitute who gets murdered for blackmailing.

After the fifth time I called and forgot the area code, I nicknamed the voice Betty G. And no, I'm not calling her a prostitute, but silly Betty G harasses so many people that she's bound to come to a sticky end. Cause no one, and I mean NO ONE likes poor little Betty G.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Rusty?

Journalism is like keeping in shape, you have to be doing it constantly to keep in practice. Since school ended in April, I've been on holiday from everything reporter-related. I had no idea how rusty I was getting, until yesterday.

Recently I decided to join CJSW and try my hand at radio reporting. I'm working on my first story right now. Though I have no radio experience, I figured it would be a cinch cause I've done broadcast and I more or less understand the basics of interviewing. I was way under prepared for radio.

My interview was yesterday after work. I went straight from work to the CJSW office, where they ran over the basics of their recording equipment again, and sent me on my way. I get to the interview, I handle the pre-interview conversation with ease, I set up my equipment with cool professionalism. I even have a little CJSW label on my microphone so I look legitimate. Then, I test my recorder.

I have no idea why it did this. But for some reason, my recorder has decided to freeze up. I sit there for a while, fiddling and desperately wishing the thing would work. I tried everything. I have never felt so incompetent in my life. Eventually I just have to duck out, run back to the office and trade it for new recorder, all the time apologizing to my subject for my total lack of credibility.

I went back red faced and did the interview. Only this time I left the CJSW label for my mike behind. All illusions of professionalism have already been shattered.