I’ve had lots of free time on my hands this month as my kids are all (I mean all three!) away at summer camp and my husband, well, he still has to work so we can eat and have a roof over our heads.
Me, I’ve had time to explore and actually wander around the outlying towns I cover instead of just “visit” the towns on the Internet through municipal webpages.
Sure, there is lots of information about events, festivals and programs online, but there is no substitute for hitting the pavement and asking around.
On such a visit to Fairport, I took a break, sat by the Erie Canal and called my brother in New Jersey.
He asked what I was up to.
“Oh, I need to write a profile story about a person from a town I really know very few people, so I’m walking around this cute little village called Fairport. I’m stopping into the library and local shops and saying hello and asking people for ideas.”
He paused. He chuckled. Then he began to speak. When my brother speaks, he has no filter. At least not with his sister.
“You’re going around ASKING random people if they have ideas for you? You know who does that? CRAZY PEOPLE!!”
Perhaps. Perhaps the unstructured time of summer has driven me mad. But just wandering around I gathered the following for story ideas:
- A beauty shop that carries only sustainable products and is one of the only salons in the country that has a state of the art ventilation system that is constantly bringing in fresh air to protect the health of clients and employees. They also collect food for the local food pantry and portions of their profits go to a well project in Uganda.
- An upcoming music festival
- An ice cream shop owned by a Xerox manager called the Moonlight Creamery that has special wine-food-ice cream pairing events and crazy flavors like oatmeal ice cream.
- Most of all, I found a golf fund-raiser to raise money for a Fairport football coach battling a degenerative neuro muscular disease. The minute I saw it, I said, THAT’s my story.
But, I can’t wander around all the time, people. I need your help.
I need for you to tell me about great little shops on the east side of Rochester that have great shop owners with interesting lives.
I need to know what organizations you’re giving your time to and what events that are coming up that go with your cause.
I need to know about the issues in your town you care about, how you are getting involved and how others can do the same.
Fall is coming. I’m nearing the end of my story idea rope and I can’t wander around the streets in the cold of February. Send me your best ideas NOW!
This summer and hopefully for many months to follow, my editors have given me a new challenge – find interesting people to profile in the ROC East Towns of Pittsford, Victor, and Webster. Find people with a unique way of making a living or those who possess a hobby, craft, talent, or story in their past that sets them apart. And make the idea photogenic, and coordinate your source’s schedule with a staff photographer; because photographers have to make a living too.
Come on people, I know you’re out there.
How do I know this? Because within one walking block of my house, I have found interesting people that would make incredible subjects for profile stories. Artists. Gardeners. Mysterious Xylophone players. People who used to live in Nepal. But I only know these facts about my fabulous neighbors is because they are my neighbors.
And if all these people inhabit just one small block of Rochester’s eastern towns, then just imagine who else could be out there – other fabulous people with hobbies, businesses, causes, or talents that really make them stand out.
So, if you know of any such people and they are your Pittsford, Victor or Webster neighbors, won’t you please ask them if they might like to be possibly featured in the Our Towns section of the Democrat & Chronicle? If they are a budding entrepreneur, artist, musician, this could only be a win-win situation.
If not, I just might show up in a suburban development near you, walking the sidewalkless streets wearing a placard that says “Got Story?”