Remembering the Who & WhenApril 11, 2012
As I sat editing a story for AT this morning — out of the blue, I thought about my first paid magazine piece. It was an article on the objectification of black female bodies in urban music videos for Urban Teen Scene magazine. I'm almost afraid to look back at my writing from that time in 2004, but I digress. I discovered the publication in the salon where my mom was a stylist, read it while getting my hair done, and went home directly after to call the editor in chief — Susan Dorsainville. Thank God for their publishing the number to the mag's editorial office in each issue and for the individual who answered and transferred me to Ms. Dorsainville's office though I'm sure my voice was almost too trembly to understand what I was saying. When she answered, I almost hung up! This was my habit; running towards challenges that frightened me and wondering what I was thinking as I got closer. But, I introduced myself. She didn't interrupt. After like 6 seconds of silence, I realized my foot was in the door. I told her that I had just read an issue of the magazine and would love to be a contributor. I ran down my few years of newspaper reporting and that I had completed a magazine internship while in college. Thinking back, I'm glad I didn't have to go straight on the job in Urban Teen Scene's offices because, seeing things from this side of the business, I had learned almost nothing in my internship. Nevertheless, to my surprise — she said I could do a trial piece on whatever I chose, but that it should fit the editorial scope of the mag. You can imagine my elation. The bonus, I would be paid for it.
I'm thinking about Ms. Dorsainville today because her giving me that assignment allowed me a starting point in this direction. Thinking back, I fully realize that she could have cut that conversation short without having lost anything. And while I only contributed two articles to the magazine, never met Susan in person and had just a few brief exchanges with her as my editor, I am so grateful to have received the opportunity. She took a chance on me — neither of us realizing that it would be a stepping stone that led to this point. So, this morning, I thought — I should locate her to say thank you. I never want to forget to remember the "who" and "when," especially when the who is someone that understood that lighting my candle wouldn't snuff out their flame.
Thanks, Susan, for everything.