Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Juggling Fruits

So, I drove a couple of Flickr folks nutty when I posted a photo (here) of me holding a newspaper, which [unbeknown to me ;-)] contained a photo and an article about yours truly, without any further explanation as to how it all came about.

I went to the trouble of writing it all down, so I thought I'd post it over here, too:

Juggling FruitsOK, so here's the long story:

A friend from my church (Kayley -- she wrote the article, right) was doing her MassComm internship at our local paper. Kayley called one night and left a message about doing an interview with me about my juggling.

What? My juggling? How does she even know about that?

It occurred to me that I had posted this photo on Flickr and on my blog when I did the photo for one of my Self Portrait Challenge themes. Maybe she came across one of those. I think, at one point, she had mentioned something else that she had seen on my blog, maybe?

It also occurred to me that this poor girl must be simply desperate for story ideas if she's calling me of all people about juggling.

So Kayley and I communicated about a time to do an interview. I agreed to doing the interview only with the condition that if she spent her time doing the interview and ended up with nothing that added up to a decent article, that there would be no hard feelings either way. She wouldn't be mad at me. I wouldn't be mad at her. She agreed, so we set up a time.

She came over one night after my kids were in bed and she and I and my wife talked for hours, catching up on what she'd been doing, what her plans were for after college. We talked about politics, religion, Seinfeld -- you know, the essentials.

Oh yeah, and somewhere in the midst of all that, she slipped in a few questions about juggling. She didn't make an audio recording of our conversation and, from what I could tell, she made very few notes as we spoke.

I asked her about how this had all come about. Why she called me, etc. As it turned out, she didn't come up with the story idea. She was working from a list of potential features and came across "Jeremy Stockwell -- local juggler." She figured that she would sign up to do that one since she already knew me. To this day, I still don't know how my name ended up on that list.

As an afterthought, as Kayley was getting her things packed up and getting ready to leave, I mentioned that I had a photo that I'd done for Self Portrait Challenge of me juggling and that I'd send it to her in case she could use it.

That was it.

Kayley graduated and got a job in Chicago (with CareerBuilder -- she posted her details up on to get a job, any job. CareerBuilder saw it, contacted her and gave her a job -- sorry for another aside, but I thought it was interesting).

I haven't spoken or communicated with her since that night (I got the CareerBuilder story from her parents, who still go to my church, fyi).

One day at church, a couple of people mentioned that they had seen my picture and an article in Madison Magazine, the publication for which Kayley had written the article.

So, it was printed, but I had yet to see it.

That Wednesday at choir practice, another friend mentioned that he had seen the article. I mentioned that I heard the article had run in the magazine, but that I had yet to see the article myself. He promised to bring me his copy the following Sunday. He came through and brought me his copy.

When I offered to send her my photo, I was imagining that if she used it at all, that it might appear at the bottom of the article, the width of a single column, maybe. I was so surprised how she made use of the photo a prominent part of the article, wrapping the text around the image, etc.

Then I read the article, and was surprised again at how well written it was. I mentioned that she took very few notes, but she had quotes from me and did a good job representing my attitude on the whole story. I was quite impressed. She did a good job forming my rattling on into a cohesive, entertaining article. (I posted this photo as full size. I believe that, for those really interested, if you view it full size and scroll around a bit, you can read the entire article.)

I thought that was the end of it.

Then, on Friday, June 13 (National Juggling Day), I came into work and on my desk is the 'People & Places' section of my local newspaper (I'm not a subscriber, if you hadn't already figured that out). It's the same article that ran in Madison Magazine (there's an ad inset for the magazine at the bottom of the article), just slightly reformatted for the space.

The newspaper has a much wider circulation than the magazine, so for a while, just about everywhere I went, somebody would mention to me that they saw the article in the paper. I was almost a local celebrity for a few days! Crazy.

It also occurred to me (and several others, I might add) that perhaps somewhere in Madison County, Indiana, there is some other guy named Jeremy Stockwell who actually is a master juggler, wondering who in the world I am and how I managed to steal all of his press.

So, that's more than you ever wanted to know about how my photo got in the paper. Hopefully, that will make up for being a bit mysterious about posting it here without any explanation as to the details.

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