The Day I First Experienced the Might of the Pen

My response to

In January 2001 I received my first assignment as a freelance writer. I was to go interview a musical group made up of traveling retirees called The Snowbirds during one of their rehearsals. I was excited to attend their rehearsal and took a lot of notes.

One of the concerns of the group was that they had rented out a large facility for a concert that no one was buying tickets to see. On the Wednesday preceding the Friday night concert, my article, slightly edited by the publications editor, Jim Manders, appeared in the paper. Here it is:

Photo of the article taken by Lenee Cobb

However, for the intention of learning, I am also including (below) a smidgen of what I originally handed Jim Manders:

Local Band Lives Dream

For the Sequim Gazette by Leneé Cobb

A shared dream of those who are into the various forms of the performing arts is, of course, to perform in front of an enthusiastic live audience as a paid professional.  For many stage hams, this dream has proved elusive. Leave it to those who have chosen to retire on the northern Olympic Peninsula to go after the seemingly impossible and make it their reality. Such is the case of the WILMAC SNOWBIRD ORCHESTRA and the SKYLARKS, a vocal trio, referred to collectively as “the Band”.

 The leader of the Band is one of our local realtors, Tom Williamson.  Before moving to Agnew, Tom, and his wife, Karen lived in Sitka Alaska.  Tom had been a cabinetmaker and Karen a realtor there.  Karen moved to Sitka after achieving two degrees in music at the prestigious Indiana University School of Music for the sole purpose of marrying Tom, who she met while there while on vacation.  Although Tom had played the Saxophone in High School and later, while attending the Army School of Music, he had not picked up his instrument for years and had shown little inclination to do so.

. . .

As you can see, according to the editor, I had some things to learn about writing, especially concise writing.

But one of the perks of being part of the news media was that the group extended an invitation for my husband and I to attend their concert for free. I worried along with the performers about their ticket sales.

When we drove to the facility where the concert was about to begin it was nearly impossible to find a parking spot. I couldn’t help but wonder, was this due to my story? I began to shake a little.

The ticket line extended outside and around the building and once we made our way through the crowd waiting to get inside and the ticket seller allowed us entrance, it was standing room only.

The band and vocalists were energized by the audience and when a ten minute break was announced, members sought me out. “As soon as your story appeared,” they said, “ticket sales soared! Thank you!”

As if that weren’t enough, a few days later I opened a wonderful thank you card from them. I still have that card.

Although my story was edited, I was able to see, first hand, with my very first published story, the power of the pen and that realization humbled me.

As writers, photographers, artists, musicians, exposure matters. Is it negative or positive? Beneficial or detrimental?

I wonder if any readers would be willing to share their stories on how they first discovered the power of the pen. Please, if you do, feel free to include a link to your stories on this subject in the comment area.


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