Friday, May 15, 2009


I am a writer for a nationally published music and film magazine -- Ghettoblaster.

I hate to sound so unenthusiastic - I'm thrilled, really I am. It just feels a little anticlimactic. I was dying to talk about it earlier, but didn't want to jinx it. I wrote the four CD reviews this winter, one of them references getting stuck in the snow. They are my first CD reviews, ever. I am not good at being critical -- I'm amazed by anyone who can put themselves out there, so I hate to say anything bad about them. Nor am I good at obscure references: they sound like a cross between Jumbo the Elephant and Cindy Brady during a category 4 hurricane. Huh?

When I turned my piece in I fantasized casually walking by the music magazines at Northside Newsstand and saying, "why look, the spring issue of Ghettoblaster is in." I'd flip through the mag and say, "hey, who is this on page 42?, why it's me!" And then I'd dance around the store like a total geek.

The newsstand was the place I went to see my first column in the Broad Ripple Gazette, it was where I went to grab the NUVO with my first article. It was where I went to run my hands over the stack of NUVOs with my cover story - and made Joe take six pictures of me holding the paper proudly.

In my early days of writing, pre-wireless Internet, I'd write in the cafe side. If the shop was closed, I'd park in front and transmit my columns from the truck. In fact I started this blog late one night parked outside.

My writing success was directly tied to the newsstand. I'd produce it there and I'd get to grab the tangible product from a rack inside just days later. I can't even link to all of the times I blogged about (and from) the newsstand, but it does have its own sidebar label.

The magazine process was a little longer. I submitted the piece in January for the spring issue. Knowing it would not hit the stands before April did not stop me from walking by the spot where issue 20 was standing up proudly in it's slot surrounded by Spin and Paste and No Depression almost every single day.

Then the unimaginable happened. The big magazine distributor for Indiana went out of business. And there was not much reason to keep the newsstand open without magazines. They announced it with a sign on the door. As you can imagine I was getting phone calls and text messages right way. I contact one of the owners and offered to put a piece in my column, to let them tell the story in their own words. Something I would have appreciated with the coffeehouse closed (This post ties the relationship of the coffeehouse and newsstand together).

I was stunned when M. said "No!" I pointed out that I could read the sign from the sidewalk, so it was public knowledge. In an exchange of heated texts he asked me not to write about it. Ultimately I respected that, even though every other publication and several bloggers (Kirsten wrote a beautiful tribute) did. After I backed off and examined my feelings (something I'm not good at doing), I realized that I considered the newsstand a continuation of the CATH era. One more thing to let go of.

The newsstand closed the first week in March. The News Cafe continues to flourish and has expanded in to the extra space. You can still buy newspapers, candy and smokes there. Just not magazines.

I combed bookstores and the only other newsstand in the city I knew of for the latest copy of Ghettoblaster, but with the distributor gone, no one else had it either. I finally subscribed to the magazine - after ten years of buying all of my magazines at the newsstand, subscribing to something seemed like a foreign idea.

The day it arrived in the mail seemed anti-climatic.

And I'll admit to being a little nervous. What if I sounded like an idiot? I looked at the Photo magazine (a Christmas gift from a friend) and left the Ghettoblaster in the envelope until the next day.

When I finally read it I was happy with the blurbs - and thanks to my dear brother-in-law, Ron for editing them. I listened to the CDs in lots of situations; work, in the truck and at home. I think I did a good job, managing to say nice stuff even if I didn't love the music. The rating system was hard for me, but I know that everyone can't go home with a trophy. I loved Horse Feathers and gave them the highest rating. The other three were good, but not gold star worthy.

I showed it to mom and we made fun of some of the naughty band names. It felt more real when Tammy and Cara read the magazine when we were out one night.

Getting their stamp of approval means a lot. The fact that we could be silly made it all the more fun.

And, not to jinx it, but I'm doing twice as many reviews and maybe a feature story or two for the next issue. Maybe.


Jerry in Indiana said...

..and I can say I knew you when you were a nobody. Please don't turn into a diva.

Congratulations, Nora!!!!

Ralph said...

Congratulations Nora. That is quite an accomplishment.
I loved he statement, "I'd flip through the mag and say, "hey, who is this on page 42?, why it's me!" And then I'd dance around the store like a total geek." A lot of your blogging friends would be dancing with you.

Cliff said...

Yep Ralph, I would dance with her to if I could move some of this crap in this office.
Congrats Nora. Don't forget us 'little people' who got you to where you are.

WYA! said...

Big congrats to you!

Jamie Dawn said...

BIg HUGE Whopping congrats on being published in Ghettoblaster!!!!!
That is terrific even if you felt some anti-climatic feelings.
I'm dancing a jig right with you in my heart!

Teresa said...

Wow. Congratulations!! What an awesome accomplishment.