The absolute worst part of journalism is the waiting. If you’re a good journalist you should never be waiting for a story to drop in your lap. You should always be out finding stories to pitch. But, once that pitch gets approved it’s a lot of hurry up and wait until your editor can hit “publish.”

So you’ve got an idea, you love it, your editor loves it. Now what? Now you start your research. You figure out exactly what you’re writing about and how to write it. You find out your ideal sources to talk to. Awesome.

You call your source. You get their voicemail. You call another source. Another voicemail. You wait.

And wait.

You pre-write as much as possible. All of your research is solid. You accuracy check it. It’s great. You’re still waiting.

Your phone rings. It’s your mom. You chat for a bit. Still waiting.

Then, all of the sudden the phone rings and it’s your source! You start the interview and it’s going great. Your phone starts to beep. It’s your other source! Do you stop your interview to interview someone else? Do you keep talking and hope you can get the other source on the phone later? You start to sweat, suddenly your whole career is flashing before your eyes. What if this is about to be the greatest quote you’ve ever heard? What if the source on the other line only has two minutes to talk for the next five years?

You reject the incoming call. You refocus on your source and get some of the information you need. They end the conversation. You call back your other source. The clock is showing 4:45. You know they won’t answer after business hours. You wait. It’s ringing. You wait.

They answer. They ask if they can call you back tomorrow. You say yes. You have no choice. You hang up.

You wait.

You go to bed. Repeat tomorrow.

 

I like to smell his head.

He smells sweet; a little musky, like he’s been outside a lot, but mostly sweet. You can faintly smell his shampoo, but his personal scent is what comes through most.

His little head is soft, with his blonde hair smoothed back by hours of petting. His ears are even softer, with an indescribable amount of little fine hairs all flowing together down his neck.

When I was young my dad sniffed my head whenever I got home. He would tell me I smelled good, but when I asked what I smelled like, he would respond with “you smell like Hannah.”

This never made sense to me. Did I smell like shampoo? Like elementary school? Like my sister or my mom? But there was no one answer. Now, when I come home from college the first thing he does is smell my head. He likes that I still smell the same.

I didn’t realize that I was the same crazy, smelling person until I was sitting in reporting class this morning listening to a lecture about probing subjects to use their five senses as storytelling points.

The first smell that popped into my head was my little puppy’s head. I realized that I could talk about how he smells and how his little hairs feel on my nose for hours. It’s so specific to him and only him and it brings me to the emotional place of his much I adore him, how much he’s my baby.

I’m currently working on (no surprise) a story about two wonderful women who take care of the Twin Lakes Dog Park. I have been collecting questions to ask them about past pets, children, jobs, and why the park means so much to them. But, now I know I’m also interested in how Charlie and Hudson (the dogs) smell. What does it feel like to look into their eyes? Do they bark differently for different reasons? How do they feel when you pet them, did it feel differently when they were puppies? Or after a bath?

My dog’s head smells a little bit like dog shampoo and something sweet that I can’t identify. But how I feel about his smell is so meaningful to me. I have to keep in mind that how other people feel about the things that are important to them have those same emotional connections.

I blacked out.

Last week I sat in my bed surrounded by my dogs, a water bottle, my laptop, and my phone. I stared intently at the expensive extension of myself and willed it to not fail me now. The seconds passed like hours and my heart started to race.

What time is it? Why hasn’t he called yet?

It started to ring. My heart stopped and my eyes got big. I felt like I had never heard a phone ring before. It rang twice before I snapped out of it and said hello, this is Hannah.

His deep voice jumped into my bedroom with a happy bounce off the walls. Dierks Bentley was on the other line. Dierks Bentley had just called me.

Not only had I been a fan of his since I first heart “What was I thinking?” at probably age five, but it had always been a dream of mine to write stories like this. I wanted to write about people who make successes doing what they love, who better to represent that than the sweetheart of country music?

I proceeded to interview Dierks with the most calm and professional me that I could manage. Honestly I don’t remember that much of it. I feel like I blacked out, then it was over. Luckily I had foreseen this level of starstruck and had not only written out my questions beforehand, but had also recorded the entire interview.

I immediately started transcribing and hyperventilating because, wow Dierks Bentley was so nice and dreamy and just talked to me and OMG. But, as I started writing I became the person I wanted to be in that moment.

I saw myself through the lens of what I wanted to see. I was a hardworking journalist covering a story with an important public figure as a source. I was wearing practical clothes and sitting at a desk that was the perfect amount of messy and cluttered, just as I imagine Joanna Coles looks like.

I wrote and wrote until I thought I had captured Dierks and his upcoming homecoming concert in 750 words as best I could. I then edited and re-edited little bits of the article over and over. I didn’t want this moment to be over. I didn’t want to return to my bedroom. I wanted to stay and work on this piece forever. I didn’t want it to end.

But, it had to eventually. I put my final finishing touches on it and sent it off to my editor. I was then again the college student laying in bed surrounded by dogs; and I guess that’s okay too.

We all thought it was a good idea

The needle jammed through my nose with the force of a bullet. My sister had told me it wouldn’t hurt at all. That was a lie. The guy had told me I wouldn’t be sore after. That was also a lie.

All of my friends were there watching, waiting to see if it bled, if it hurt, if it looked as cool as they had all told me it would. They stood in the corners and peeked through their fingers, as I instantly became the brave, rebel friend.

My sophomore year in college I did a very stupid thing. I let some man with a face tattoo shove a 16-gauge needle through my nose and fill it with a large silver hoop. I thought it was so badass.

Just an FYI, getting your nose pierced hurts. It hurts a lot. Actually it hurts the exact amount that you would think a large man shoving a large needle through your face would hurt.

I flexed the muscles in my nose, feeling the jolt of pain and I told myself it was worth it. I knew I would have to take it out for my sister’s wedding in a few months. I didn’t care. I figured I would put one of those cheap plastic transparent posts through it for one day. That would make her happy right? All of her wedding pictures with her maid of honor sporting a literal chunk of plastic falling out of her nose. Excellent plan.

I told myself that all of my friends were right and that it would be so cute. I told myself that the $100 I had just shelled out to the face-tattoo man was worth it. I could now see the hoop looming whenever I looked down and was obsessed with it.

I wiggled my nose, pushed my nostrils together and apart and grinned through the very literal pain.

I took a million selfies, made bad puns about my nose, and constantly cleaned, cleaned, and cleaned again. I ignored the fact that sometimes the little hoop would swirl around and the ball would hang out of my nose like a bugger. No one ever mentioned to me how much it looked like I was picking my nose when I tried with little success to swirl it back into it’s nasal home.

Needless to say I was proud of the metal in my face. I walked around with pride. I wore my ring as a sign of defiance and rebellion. I thought I was for sure the coolest kid in Mid-Missouri.

Nobody told me what you do when you get sick. Nobody told me what you do when your nose is pouring snot like a fountain and your ring catches a booger to keep for itself and show off. Nobody told me that you couldn’t effectively blow your nose without inducing excruciating pain and wondering if you ripped the rebellion right out of your face.

Even though I was embarrassed, I was still cool. I had a nose ring. I was a rebel. I wore a lot of plaid and beanies. Someone could have mistaken me for a middle school boy. I wasn’t getting kissed at the time (maybe for obvious reasons?) and I was so sure that it would feel cool and wiggle with someone’s face pushed against mine. I wiped at my snot with pride and laughed it off like the cool college kid I was.

But the snot and the ring joined together as an evil team to give me a giant red Rudolph bump on the top of my ring. I was now Rudolph the red-nosed rebel. I took the ring out of my nose and mourned the loss of my rebellion.

That Sunday as I was skyping my parents (as I do every Sunday), they both had huge smiles on their faces. I knew why, but I was too defeated to ask. My dad piped up saying that he was so glad the ugly metal was out of my face and my mom nodded. They looked so proud of their little girl for pulling the atrocity out of her face and being a normal human again.

They proceeded to tell me that they had in fact told me not to do it. They had told me that it would get infected. They had told me I would be wasting my money. For the record, I have no memory of this. But, the warnings turned into “I told you so” really quickly that day. I had half a mind to shove it back in just to prove them wrong, but the snot and buggers that my sinuses had become so fond of had permanently taken root in the way of the hole.

But I guess I did learn a lesson from all of my nasal strife. Other than the obvious, don’t pierce your face, don’t let a man with a face tattoo stab you with a needle and don’t let your friends talk you into anything; I learned to listen to the little voice inside my head that is programmed to tell you not to jump off of bridges, not to snort salt, and not to stick metal places it doesn’t belong.

Nude.

Nude. Just a synonym for naked?

Not anymore. For years the idea of “nude” underwear was one thing, tan. The color that we all are when we’re naked right? I don’t think so.

For young designers coming into their success at this time of diversity triumphing over societal norms, and people finally discovering that our differences make us strong; this is the ideal time that they can expand the word “nude” to include all of us.

Kanye West, a new maven in the fashion industry kicked off the excitement about a rainbow of nudes with his “Yeezy Season 1” styles. Within the next year, designers such as Matte and Nubian Skin have followed suit creating colors of nudes that match every birthday suit.

For more info about this trend click here.

But what does this say about society?

The fact that people of color don’t have to see the word “nude” and know that yet another section of society doesn’t cater to them. The fact that while shopping, the shame of not fitting into the color scheme that the fashion industry wants you to is gone. The fact that not only is diversity of skin color acceptable, it is a million dollar industry and it is beautiful.

The fashion industry is known for it’s creativity, thinking outside the box, and originality. However all of these stretches of the imagination have never crossed the invisible but all too tangible diversity lines before. Now, plus size models are walking the runways of the most elite designers, publicists are signing talent with skin abnormalities, and talent with disabilities.

This small change in the business of “nude” is much more than a variation in fabric choices. Its a reflection on fashion extending it’s reach to those that don’t look like the unachievable mold that we are told to fit into.

Cocks not Glocks

Regardless of my personal opinion about the issue of carrying weapons on campus, or weapons in general really, I would like to talk a little bit about the immense success the “Cocks not Glocks” campaign has had.

Not only is the branding of the campaign against the law in Texas that allows students to carry guns on campus extremely catchy, but its following has gained momentum rapidly worldwide.

News organizations from Cosmopolitan, to the New York Times has covered the story of students carrying around large dildos to class to protest the fact that sex toys are forbidden on campus, while firearms are completely legal.

I have to beg the question though, is the global following of this movement due to the cause? Or is the branding, advertisement, and blatant comedy of it all what is attracting the attention of the world at large?

Furthermore, from the prospective of the organizers would it even be a disappointment if the followers of the stories online only followed for the shock factor, and didn’t have a leg to stand on about the actual issue?

Are the internet likes just as powerful as feet on the ground?

For more information on Cocks not Glocks click here.

"If there's a meaning can you show me a sign? The world is spinning and I want to know why."-A Great Big World