The ramblings of a freelance writer, novelist and avid reader.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Dancing with Mitzi

Sorry in advance for my lack of humor today. This is one of those venting posts where I mostly just need to write out my feelings before I go insane.

So, I’ve been fighting – well not really – with a magazine about an article. I say fighting because I originally received a positive response for a pitch, then went about ironing out the contract with the editor, only to have the editor get laid-off. Not surprisingly, the new editor was less than thrilled to take any articles the old editor had agreed on that hadn’t been signed to a contract yet.

I’ve pitched the article to a couple other places and offered to submit this article on spec. On spec – or speculation – means the magazine can do whatever they want with the article – publish it or not – and they don’t have to pay me if they don’t want to. Why would anyone do this you ask? Well, to get the darn thing published!! Why do I want this article published so badly? Well, it’s about this really wonderful woman who’s lived this amazing life and I’d love for her to see her story in print. To make matters worse, I found out today that she has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, making this article all that more important.

I’m leaving my pitch here, and in a couple of weeks if I don’t hear back from those pitched magazines, I’m going to post the article here too. Your good thoughts, prayers, wishes, chi energy, whatever you have to spare would be greatly appreciated. Not just for the publishing of this article but more – and most – importantly the improvement in health of my friend and anyone else who’s struggling with a life threatening illness.

In 1942, President Roosevelt signed Public Law 689 – the Navy Women’s Reserve Act – enabling women to enlist in the reserve branches of the Navy. These women became known as WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Services).

At the age of 20, Mercedes ‘Mitzi’ Ward – with two letters of recommendation from outstanding members of her Minneapolis community and her parents’ consent – joined the ranks of the WAVES and was shipped to a Navy hospital in San Diego for the duration of WWII and six months.

I’m contacting you to pitch a profile of Mitzi, whom I met while working my first part-time job in high school – cashiering at a local grocery store where Mitzi still demos frozen pizzas and other food on the weekends. I still visit her frequently at the store to listen to her tales, and for the pure motivation she inspires in those who listen. This story will highlight just some of the most fascinating aspects of her life: her activities with the WAVES during WW II – focusing on Mitzi’s job rehabilitating amputee soldiers by teaching them to dance; visiting some of the big band dance halls/hotels of California; and dancing with a young G.I. named Gene Kelly. Although she’s now in her eighties, Mitzi still has a mischievous sparkle in her eyes and a young, sly smile. Her sense of humor is almost as strong as her no-nonsense demeanor. She is an Everywoman who still remains active in her Minnesota community. In her own words, Mitzi’s lived. She’s (literally) danced through life with an undying optimism that makes her story relevant to your target audience: smart, savvy women who enjoy empowering histories and profiles.

As an experienced copywriter, I’m skilled at self-editing my work. You can expect a well-researched and fact checked feature article for your Life section. Mitzi’s dance through life is a choreographed journey worth taking. Thank you for your consideration.

I’d like everyone reading this post to really think about talking to friends, relatives, teachers, anyone about their lives. Listen to your friend’s favorite life experience, and feel free to comment/post those stories here. There are a lot of good stories around that may be lost if we don’t start listening to each other.
I'll step down off of my soap box now, thanks for listening.

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