Raison d’être

The Rant D’Jour may be the the most humorous one I have ever written about excrement.

Put another way, this is some funny shit.

The following is true. Names and places are also true. No one is being protected here. Our story begins, as so many do…The more


Blog Post for Friday 3/4/11 – 19 degrees at 5:59 AM – somehow seems MUCH colder.

Strap in. Pull them belts tight. This will be a bumpy ride

Some mornings, most, truth be told, I can not wait to get out of bed and do this.

I Love doing this. I was born to do this, I think.

I enjoyed my radio career. I was good at it. Made a lot of money, and to borrow and possibly ruin Billy Joel’s “The Entertainer”

I am the entertainer,
Been all around the the dial.
I’ve played all kinds of frequencies,
And laid all kinds of girls.

But looking back on it, although I would change little, I think I would rather have done this.

What, this?


I can’t picture what form it would have taken. When I wrote my obit (relax-it was an assignment for writing class) I gave myself a column in USA Today. That would have been more than OK.

A cross between Dave Barry and Andy Rooney.

I flatter myself. That’s OK. If I don’t who will?

But as good as I was in radio, and I was good enough to make a living, raise three kids and let a lot of cash get away from me, I think I may have found more satisfaction in the written word.

The reason is pretty simple. The on air stuff is winging it’s way on the ether to Alpha Centauri A.

The written stuff I can hold in my hands.

I am going to die.

I have a finite amount of time left.

The sands of the hour glass are mostly on the bottom half.

I have to get moving.

I am pretty good at this. I knew that going in. But I needed affirmation. So I have done a few things.

I have taken, am taking some classes. I have sucked up knowledge about the parts of this craft that I knew not like a greedy pig. I still am working that tit for all it is worth. I think I exhaust my teachers.

I have become better at many aspects of this.

I have been called a writer, by people who know what one is.

More than one people. More than two.

The goal here is pretty simple.

I would love to say that the writing is it’s own reward. That just putting this breathless, deathless prose down is enough.

F that.

I want to get paid.

In some senses I do get money for this craft. The WEEKENDER column pays. Those in the business of writing for newspapers are not shocked by the sum. I told a friend outside of the writing craft how much once. His reaction was, more or less,

Why bother?

The why is pretty simple. Because I would do it (had done it for years while I was on the radio) for free. When they told me (when I left the radio) that they still wanted me to write the column AND they would now pay me I about shat myself.

I also get paid for the work I do on the big motorsports web sites. Not specifically for writing but I am writing for them, and I do get paid.

Ok, so I really like doing this. I think the blog form is the future of writing. Short (well maybe not this one), timely and uses the power of the format (the ability to integrate images, video and sound) to enhance the material.

It’s the perfect “column of the future” now that dead tree publishing is, well, dying.

My biggest strength is interviewing and then turning those interviews into words in stories.

I have interviewed thousands of people. More for the radio than for the written word but the techniques are pretty much the same.

But, and this is a big but, I interview people every day. All the time. It’s a frigging disease.

I LOVE to talk to people.

Nope, not quite right.

I LOVE to listen to people. I like to get them talking about themselves.

I am a voyeur, in the sense that I want to see other peoples reality. As they see it.

I once spent 45 minutes talking to the woman who makes the apple-dumplings à la mode at the Bloomsburg fair.

She was busy as hell, trying to keep the dumplings moving. But I charmed her into sitting down with me and telling her story.

I know a lot about apples and dumplings and selling them at country fairs now. I could write a great article but I didn’t take notes.

The point is she didn’t know she was being interviewed. She was, but to her it was just some curious fat guy with ice cream on his chin.

I approach all interviews like that. It’s just a chat. Between two people. That’s all.

Best if there is no notebook-and the microphone is small. Over the phone works well.

I did an interview this week with a very famous man. A guy who is really well known in his craft and who has been interviewed by really good journalists. A lot of them over his 30 year career. I told him I would tape the interview.

We talked for well over an hour. At the end he asked me if I would send him the tape. I said sure.

He said “I want to hear this interview we just did because you asked me some questions and I talked about some things that no other journalist ever has.”

That thrilled me.

So the point (and I have one) is that there is for sure a pony under all this horseshit.

I need to figure out, and I am getting closer every day, how to do this stuff that I love and turn a little of it into income.

Because doing it is great. And I will do it for nothing.

But I would rather do more of it. And to do that I need to monetize it.



The Rant D’Jour

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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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