By Eleanor Lee
Northwest Asian Weekly
Li-Young Lee was telling me about his morning ritual of reading Emerson, a wonderfully peaceful and introspective way to start the day, I thought.
I, on the other hand, was huddled in a cubicle trying to hear his measured, calm voice over the hubbub of the newsroom, while frantically taking notes. The NWAW’s offices are not always loud, but that morning, it seemed like everyone was screeching at each other, edits flying back and forth and interviews being shouted over phones. My own phone wasn’t working properly, so I had commandeered one of the intern’s cubicles, which was in a noisier part of the office. Also, her cubicle was small and cluttered, and instead of taking notes on my computer, typing as fast as one could talk, I had to scribble notes by hand on a scrap of paper on the desk.
This is my most endearing image of my time at the Northwest Asian Weekly. There are some other standouts: visiting the McNeil Island Prison, watching election results come in with Bruce Harrell the night he won his seat on City Council, getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the renovated Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience before it opened to the public.
I got to do a lot of cool things as editor of this newspaper. I have never since had a job that allowed me to satisfy my curiosity of so many things or to be introduced to so many new people and aspects of the community. I’ve lived in the Seattle area since 1981, and I thought I knew the city, but it wasn’t until I started working at the newspaper that I really got to know the community. At the end of a work day, if you were to look at my internet browser’s history, you would see such a variety of sites and search terms that you would have to assume I was a newspaper editor… or maybe that I was a frantic Wikipedia updater.
But my fondest memory is of getting to talk to one of my absolute favorite poets — of hearing him describe how there was “a bear, a bat, a badger” in him he wanted to account for in his poetry — while the comforting din of a newsroom swirled around me. (end)
Eleanor Lee can be reached at email@example.com.