Friday, July 15, 2005

The Finagler in Me

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Whether you choose to believe it or not, I am very much an insecure person, and could stand to take assertiveness training courses.

I certainly have changed over the years and have managed to gain some assertiveness along my life's journey, but I'm still not where I should be on a scale of 1 - 10 in decisiveness and security.

HOWEVER...when something is in my personal interest, "assertive" becomes my middle name. Perhaps it goes hand in hand with my given middle name, Chaja (the old European version of Chaya), which means "living creature/beast." But I do not become a beast in how I conduct myself; I just become very resourceful...and in a sense, a finagler. I've discovered that if I can first convince myself that I can do something, then I can convince the person it involves.

Case in point: JOURNALISM. I am not a journalist; I write, but do not make my living as a writer. I didn't study creative writing in university, I studied literature. So how do I know how to be a journalist? Trial and error.

Some years ago or so, I had this mad crush on Michael Feinstein (only later discovering that he was not my type, so to speak), a pianist-singer who lived for a number of years with Ira Gershwin and his wife and worked cataloguing George and Ira Gershwin's music. Michael started as a lounge singer, but eventually began to give concerts in large concert halls and record records and tapes. (pre CD days) His piano music was the American standards; his voice was that of a crooner that lulls you in your seat and makes you sway from side to side with your eyes closed.

I'd heard that Michael was going to be giving a concert -- his first, I believe in Toronto -- and I planned to be there. After securing a friend to go with me, and buying tickets, I had a brainstorm: Maybe I could finagle an interview with Michael. Maybe I could find a magazine to pitch the story to. And then I knew the perfect publication -- a glossy, society-type, Jewish magazine that is out of Toronto, but gathers stories from the States, and elsewhere, and sends the magazine around the world. The magazine publishes bio/interviews of celebrities in the fields of media, medicine, business, politics, etc. Perhaps you've seen it: Lifestyles Magazine.

Michael Feinstein and Lifestyles Magazine were -- in my eyes -- a perfect match. But could I, a non-journalist, just a sometime-published writer/poet, convince the editor of that, as well as convince him that I could produce a top-rate article for his fancy-schmancy publication?

**** stay tuned for more in this finagler's story....