Tuesday, March 17

The State Line ~ @AuthorKristina Knight

I think there are a lot of game changers in all of our lives, and that they can be as simple as when you choose to go to a ball game or what you decide to major in in college or if you don't go to college at all. We're talking about 'game changers' here at the WordWranglers for the next couple of weeks...and this is (one of) mine.

I grew up in a little, tiny town on the edge of a lake. Not a lot happened there. We were mostly surrounded by small ranches (cattle, mostly, but there was a horse ranch, too) and row-crop farmers (soybeans, mostly, but also so wheat). There were two factories in my town and between the two factories (small, again) and the farms, that is how most people made their living. Restaurants closed up by 9:00pm. The movie theatre's last showing would be 10:00pm. For concerts or plays or anything else it was a 90 minute drive into the nearest city.

I decided I was through with small town living by about the 10th grade, and I started making my plans to leave. I'd study journalism and broadcasting in college, I'd try to get one of those semester abroad things or maybe even a semester at sea (I never got either), I'd take any internship and I'd be gone.

College wasn't what I expected. First, it was way more expensive, even with scholarships, and so my dreams of interning somewhere poofed because of the need for a real job. That real job, though, was pretty good. I worked for a local radio station. Got to go to a few concerts for free, even. Met some ball players. Met RadioMan. These aren't the game changers. Well, RadioMan is *a* game changer, but that's a different post.

After college I went to work in the news department of that little radiostation. My boss hated me (he wanted a male voice for news) and it made me hate the station. I dreaded getting up in the mornings and I started sending out resumes to just about anywhere. One of those resumes, about a year after I sent it, got a bite. There was this small television station in the middle-of-nowhere Nebraska. They needed someone who could report but also who could run the newscasts (not directing, making sure the right video ran with the right stories, that kind of thing).

I was scared. As much as I didn't want to spend the rest of my life in my little, tiny town I didn't know a soul in Nebraska. I didn't have any family there. I didn't have friends. I didn't even have friends-of-friends. I literally knew the person I interviewed with.

I took the job. Packed up my little Tracker and drove 8+ hours from my little town to a new little town. I'd rented a place, sight unseen that was a horrible, terrible, very bad decision (I lived there for all of 5 days before moving). I drove out of Missouri on a Friday night. I started work on a Monday morning....it was the most scared and the most excited I think I had ever been to that point in my life.

But I did it. I was scared and I had no idea what was going to happen but I stepped waaaaaaaay outside my comfort zone. I worked at that station for four years; I went from report and tape-running to reporter and weather person and then reporter and weekend anchor. I made some friends I still have to this day. I made some mistakes that I still cringe over. I made a life that I'm still proud of today and that still influences what I do today.

I've only written one journalist character (Protecting the Quarterback), but I've written cowboys (I
met a TON in Nebraska, professional rodeo cowboys, even), sports stars (met a few of those in Nebraska), written naturalists and lawmen, photographers and artists...all because of the people that that first 'grown up job' introduced me to.

So, a big shout-out to Nebraska. Maybe not the biggest but definitely one of the most important game changers in my life!

Kristina Knight

7 comments:

  1. Oh, I loved this. If I knew it before, I forgot it. What gifts you earned from that particular game-changer!

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    1. there were moments that it was the worstjobever...but in hindsight, it really was a great experience that I'm still thankful for!

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  2. What a great life experience, Kristi! I didn't know any of this, but I love how that four years shows up in your stories in different ways. Funny how that happens, huh?

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  3. I didn't know any of this either. It sounds way more interesting than my first "grown-up" job. I worked in an office and mostly did filing. Pretty mundane. Nothing much there to put in a book! Cheers!

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    1. well. maybe a little inter-office romance over the filing cabinets? :)

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  4. Lovely piece, Kristi. Makes you glad to be where you are today, but the ride was sure interesting getting here, wasn't it? Well done!

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