Category Archives: Shameless self-promotion

If you’ve nothing better to do…

5345ce7a8b64d9971c8fe386cff181a2I’m on the Colin McEnroe Show tomorrow at 1 p.m. on WNPR, with newspaper columnist Tom Krattenmaker, author of “Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower: Finding Answers in Jesus for Those Who Don’t Believe,” and Brian Clark of the Hartford Seminary.

We’ll be talking about Christianity. I intend to learn a lot.

UPDATE: In case you missed it, here ’tis.


If you’ve nothing better to do…

vintage-microphone-white-4568394I’m on NEXT with John Dankosky and Jim Klocke, CEO of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, talking about charitable giving in the holiday season. The show airs at 2 p.m. on Thursday, and again at 6 p.m. on Sunday on WNPR.

UPDATE: You can hear the episode here.

If you’ve nothing better to do…

libraryThe Mark Twain House & Museum sponsors occasional events for writers in the man himself’s library in Hartford.

This Thursday, starting at 6 p.m., I’ll be the writer-in-residence there. We’ll talk a little bit about process (I don’t have a writing process, so that will be short) and then we’ll all hunker down and spend three glorious hours writing. Just writing! With no distractions other than the voices in our heads.

If you’re interested, you can register here. A word to the uninitiated, there is no Wifi and no pens are allowed. Come charged up and ready to write.

Come to the Mark Twain Writers Weekend

1000509261001_1852400221001_bio-biography-41-american-authors-mark-twain-sfIt starts Friday night and continues through Sunday. Here’s a schedule.

You can pretty much register at the last minute. I’m teaching a class on non-fiction research at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. BEFORE YOU START SNORING, I promise it won’t be dull.

Come early! Come heckle!

If you’ve nothing better to do…

images…I’m on WNHH Radio (you can listen here) starting around 10 a.m. with Chris Stedman of the Yale Humanist Community, and Onyeka Obiocha, of the Happiness Lab.

These two men are super-cool and I’m really going to have to bring my A-game. I hope you’ll listen and, if there’s an opportunity, I hope you’ll call in and heckle.

When it’s good to miss an anniversary

Susan Campbell-001 (1)All this week, I thought today was the anniversary of my last day at my old newspaper, but this says no. Now along with multiple other things I’ve forgotten, I can’t remember the date of my last day at Mother Courant.

I guess that’s a good thing. It means I’ve moved on, sort of.

I wanted to leave my newspaper years before I actually did. If you ask some of my colleagues, I was threatening to leave pretty much the day I got there, but most of that was just me being mad about stuff. I was pretty sure, there at the end, that it really was time to go, but I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do, post-journalism. Writing for a newspaper was the only job I ever wanted, and I’d never thought to develop a Plan B.

I’d been an adjunct professor for years, but lacking a doctorate, adjuncting was as about far as I’d ever get in academia, or so I figured.

I don’t remember the date, but I do remember the walk out to my car. I didn’t feel free or scared or excited. It was too surreal to feel much of anything. I carried my walking papers to my car, and drove home to sit on the porch and watch television, I think, which is not something I do a lot of since they took “Hill Street Blues” off the air. I watched television and only occasionally allowed myself to think, “OK. Who am I now?” For years, “OftheHartfordCourant” was my last name, as in “Susan Campbell, OftheHartfordCourant.”

Now what?

When people congratulated me on my retirement, I was quick to correct them. I didn’t retire. I quit. After all those years of threatening to, I pulled the trigger. Yay. Me.

I tried to work at a non-profit, but I wasn’t very good at it.  My colleagues were mostly patient, but I had no taste for meetings and my attitude about fund-raising was, “Fine. You don’t want to give? Fuck you.” (Maybe that approach works for others. If you’re one of those people, call me. I’d like to know your secret.)

Ironically, I could see my old newspaper building from my new desk.

Although I felt at sea, I never thought to go ask for my old job back. For one, they wouldn’t give it to me, and for two, there’s this Bible verse about a dog returning to its vomit that seemed pertinent. And weirdly, at that non-profit job I wasn’t very good at, I learned a great deal about housing and homelessness, and realized I could incorporate some of what I’d learned back into something I’m good at, which is reporting and writing.

Susan CampbellTeaching positions kept presenting themselves, first at Central Connecticut State University (love that place) and lastly, at University of New Haven, which is, as the old commercial goes, the toughest job I’ve ever loved. (That’s my ID photo from UNH, above (why will no one ever tell me to mash down my hair, or fix my shirt collar?). Funny enough, I’m wearing the same clothes I wore for my Courant ID photo, taken years ago, there on the left. I really need to buy some new clothes.)

I still write — yes, every two weeks for Mother Courant (Dog? Meet vomit.), but also for WNPR and CT Health Investigative Team and occasionally other publications. I’m finishing a book. I get asked to come speak sometimes, though I’m never sure I’m saying much.

That is not a humble-brag. I am honestly stunned that things turned out as they have. I’d worried that post-newspaper job, I’d have to scramble for the rent money, that I’d lose my edge, that I’d get bored.

Turns out, I’m mean as a snake — meaner than I was as a full-time journalist. There is a certain amount of scrambling, yes. If I didn’t have a calendar on my phone, I would just walk around in slow circles. On some days, I’m scheduled back-to-back until dinner, and sometimes, even after dinner.

But you know what? Don’t feel sorry for me. I make my own schedule, especially now that school is out.

And I’m never bored. The best part is that I have discovered that, once again, my grandma was right. God watches out for fools and sinners and, as Grandma Marrs used to say, I’m fortunate to fall into both categories. If any one were to ask my advice — and few people do — I’d tell them what I finally had to tell myself. Just jump. Push off from the edge, and go do what you think you need to do. Push off, and know that you may hit harder than you expected, but hell, the thrill of the fall is pretty much worth it.

If you’ve nothing better to do…

old-state-house…I’m at Hartford’s historic Old State House for their very first Table Talk program at noon today.

We’ll talk about housing, poverty, the Presidential election, and anything else you’d like to bring up.  I hope you’ll come. This is a new program at the Old State House and it would be cool to kick it off with a bang.