On Journalizing, Radio Shows and Organic Breakfast Foodstuffs

As I’ve mentioned at least seven times before, I dabble in  
journalizing as a contributing editor at Boston Magazine. Unlike the  
stuff you see here, Boston Magazine is all about chronicling the  
lives of other people in Boston, which means I don’t get to speak in  
the first person, which is hard for someone as talented AND modest as  
I. Anyway, I wrote a piece for the May issue of Boston Magazine which  
followed two young gentlemen whose interests lie in the pursuit of  
making time with older women. The piece was titled “On the Prowl with  
The Cougar Hunters.”

Normally, when a piece I write comes out, I send my friends an email  
via one of the Internets providing a link to the story and then sit  
back and wait for them to feel guilty enough to send me a vaguely  
complimentary email about general aspects of the piece. Inevitably,  
one person–usually my mom– calls to congratulate me, and in doing  
so accidentally offends: “Oh hon, that was great! It didn’t sound  
like you at all!!!”

So you can be sure I was alarmed when–within the first 24 hours of  
the publication hitting the newstands– I had seven requests to go on  
(FM!) radio shows, a comment war below the piece on the Mag website  
accusing me of plagiarizing a blog post that came out after the  
magazine had already gone to press, and two bowls of Frosted Mini-
Wheats mixed with some sort of organic maple granola . This is not  
something that normally happens to me. In the past four years of my  
journalism career, I had a total of  no requests for radio shows  
stemming from Boston Magazine work. No cries of plagiarism, no  
organic breakfast foods, nothing. What could have possibly turned the  
tide, I wondered. And then that night, as I lay in my Pima cotton bed  
sheets, I realized: it had to be me.

“Have you seen the movie Almost Famous?” I asked the Big Cat the next  
day, via phone, as he sat in his cube (probably) scrolling through  
thesuperficial.com. “That’s like me now, without the almost part. The  
only question is how to exploit it. Do you think I should break into  
television or movies first, or do them simultaneously like Jennifer  
Garner did when she was on Alias?”

“First of all, you’re even well known, let alone famous,” he said.  
“You just wrote about something juicy and gossipy. And second, don’t  
ever try to compare yourself to Agent Sidney Bristow. She was an  
amazing independent but ultimately conflicted woman.”

Hmmm. The fact that this short-lived time in the spotlight wasn’t  
about me was mildly troubling, but it did teach me several life  
lessons, which I will display for you in alphabetical order:

1. It is factually accurate to say that the general public loves  
stories about people of different ages making out in steakhouse bars.
2. Do not accidentally swear live on the radio, then swear again  
while apologizing for swearing.
3. Don’t get really, really angry about a plagiarizing accusation and  
search the Internets for the anonymous person who posted the  
accusation, especially if the thing they accused you of was  
literally, physically, and socially-emotionally impossible.
4. Do embrace the fact that–no matter how many times you get  
published–it is still always awesome to get that tight, nervous,  
proud feeling in the pit of your stomach when you see something that  
you created released to the general public. Even if they’re only  
reading it to hear about the tongue kissing.

May is upon us, friends, and I hope everyone is aware that–as John  
Quincy Adams said– April showers bring May flowers. Please direct  
your opines, accusations of plagiary, Dancing With The Star guest  
appearance invites, and links to baby panda bears sneezing to the  
Commenting section located beneath your seat. In the event of a water  
landing, the songs from 1988 double as a floatation device.

Got My Mind,
Set on You

George Harrison

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24 thoughts on “On Journalizing, Radio Shows and Organic Breakfast Foodstuffs

  1. Tom


    I am so there, dude (and here I am using "dude" in an unironical sort of way. Totally.). "You’ll rue the day!"

    I seem to recall that way way waaaay back in February we were apprised of some just-created webisodes that featured, among other things, you being slapped in the face, possibly repeatedly. The reported release date at that time was "spring." As that time is now upon us, I ask, "Where are webisodes of Kevin Alexander getting slapped in the face?" Enquiring minds want to know.

    Oh, and by the way, while doing research this morning I found out that version 4.0 of HTML was code-named "Cougar." It was apparently the more experienced, yet still just as energetic and attractive version of the earlier software. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

  2. Kevin Alexander

    Friends and Associates,
    Don’t worry. I still have several dozen songs from 1988 to mine. I will milk the proverbial 1988 song cow until she runs dry. Oh God. That’s kind of gross visual.

  3. Kristan C.

    Tom, my man! I knew someone had to know where I was coming from. "Real Genius", one of the Top 5 Quotable Movies of All Time. How many times a week do I inform somebody ‘it’s a moral imperative’, I can no longer count.

    C’mon, 1988? How can anybody forget "The Promise" which is still being played, how do the kids say, ad nauseum today? After all, it is the perfect theme song for all of us here:

    "I’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say
    I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be…"

    Story of my *!&@!** life.



  4. Genevieve

    I don’t know how you fit in the blog with all of the rest of the stuff going on. I do miss the frequent blogging, but the commentary is a good second because it’s like a really big conversation. All you guys are funny, and supportive. Speaking of support, I meant to say congratulations to Anna. Congratulations, Anna!

    Tom, you’re a bluesman? Sweet! And I think I will begin to consider popcorn a vegetable just to fool myself into feeling healthy when I go to the movies.

    Kevin, you’re forgetting some great ’88 songs! Guns N’ Roses "Sweet Child O’ Mine," "One" by Metallica (or was that ’89?), and REM’s "It’s The End of the World as We Know It" (another great, simple video).

    Wyatt, you’re an oak,

  5. Danielle Patterson

    Kevin that is what a guy says to a girl when he breaks up with her and vice versa. Wait, you aren’t breaking up with us are you?

  6. Kevin Alexander

    So about that… the truth of the matter is this: I have to get rewrites done in the next two weeks of my book so i can give them to my alleged agent so she can try and sell the book so I can remain economically viable for the near future. So I think I have to go back to once a week and settle for adding in my six cents via the commenting section the rest of the time. I’m afraid graduating from school means more responsibility as opposed to the less I’d originally envisioned. All apologies on not being able to sustain the short-lived two blog a week era… I promise to get back there as soon as I figure out how to work it in…
    Really. It’s not you guys, it’s me.

  7. Tom

    "I’m your Huckleberry."

    Kev, what’s up with us getting a blog comment instead of a whole blog today? Look, I’ve got work to avoid here, and you’re preventing me from avoiding it in my usual glib and carefree manner!

    If I’m not getting any decent writing done, I wanna hear about the guy who is! (or, um, isn’t also.)

  8. Kevin Alexander

    Wow. Real Genius quotes all over the comments. This is an advanced crowd. Val Kilmer’s finest work until Doc Holiday in Tombstone.

    Speaking of which, read this Val Kilmer profile: http://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ0705VALKILMER_120

    It’s fantastically meta.

    Anna: Congrats! Thats fantastic. Quick tip: the floor is usually below you, depending on whether or not you’ve been drinking.

    Barbara: Thank you for your very kind words. I’ve never been called subliminal before, but I love it. I’m glad you’re reading.

    Genevieve: The music vid for Harrison’s 1988 hit is classic. When is the last time you saw a music video where the poorly dressed singer just sat there with a guitar? Don’t say today…

  9. Kristan C.

    I almost didn’t know what to think, reading a post that’s about something other than your thesis… how does it feel to be free? (My 80s reference, which my brothers would get, would be "How’s it feel to be FROZEN!" but that doesn’t actually apply here.)

    Well played on the article’s success! Enjoy your time in the limelight. And don’t worry about the accusation of plagiarism–they’re likely just jealous that you beat them to the story.

  10. Barbara

    Kevin, I enjoy your posts and your articles in Writer’s Digest. You put your particular slant on writing in a refreshing manner, and your humour tends to be subliminal. Your insights on human nature, even if they happen to be about you, are wonderful.

  11. Tom


    I’m a guitarist in the same sense that popcorn is a vegetable. Academically speaking, yes, but not very filling, and with zero nutritive value. When I’m actually on stage I play a different instrument, one I understand enough so as not to encourage a volley of spent beer bottles and half-eaten entrees from the crowd. Oh, and blues, to answer the other question. I don’t think I can write song lyrics either, at least nothing much worth mentioning.

    Genevieve’s right, you can’t go wrong with the Dark Horse. John was amazing, but George can stand on his own.

  12. Genevieve

    Michelle, that’s awesome! Myspace is finally pulling its weight!

    Stacey, that was a great quote. Tom’s right, keep at it. You’re starting off with a good survivor’s attitude.

    Tom, you’re a guitarist? Now that I think of it I seem to remember you mentioning that before. What kind of music do you play? I wish I could write song lyrics, but I guess that’s akin to wishing I could write poetry. I think I can write lyrical prose, but not poetry for some reason.

    Kevin, I meant to tell you that I admired the George Harrison reference. He was my favorite Beatle, but I think I’m more of a John woman now. Ok, I’ve been a blog hog long enough.

  13. Anna

    I hope you enjoy your time in the spot light. I know I do and the spot light hasn’t really found me personally yet. I first book just hit the stands and I’m finding it difficult to locate the ground when I attempt to walk across the room.

  14. Tom

    Wow, so many fun things to comment on here, I don’t know where to start.

    First off, let me say that, while you were being assumed into the maelstrom of popular media over these past few days, Kev, I was standing on stage Friday night looking down at a table of five ladies who were in their forties and ready to party, and I kept thinking over and over, "Cougars. That’s what Kevin was talking about, and they’re right THERE! Real ones!"

    I’m glad your piece got some major attention, and you’re right, people are always interested in stories about folks getting laid, making out, drinking too much, using illegal substances, or misbehaving publicly. That said, I found it particularly amusing, because I get to see that kind of behavior on a semi-regular basis. Your lessons were not lost on me, Kev.

    I like Stacey’s Bo Bennett quote. A lot. Keep writing, homeslice.

    I’m glad Michelle responded. Having grown up Catholic myself, her story strikes some strong chords (and I’m one who’s pretty familiar with chords, I must tell you). I believe I’ll be surfeiting the interwebs to find out more about her work.

    Having read a number of Genevieve’s posts, it doesn’t surprise me that she has a lot of voices. I have that problem too, but I haven’t figured out how use it to make money with writing like she has. The doctors are stymied as well.

    And Kev: "In the event of a water landing, the songs from 1988 double as a floatation device." I will forever wish that *I* had been able to think up something nearly as clever. Laughed out loud at that one, I did. Stellar work, young man.

  15. Angie

    You know, Kev, I heard that interview where you swore, and if those guys hadn’t said anything, I wouldn’t even have noticed. Besides, they were saying much worse things before you were on, so it kind of surprised me that they said anything. Bah. Corporate standards.

    I just read the article, too. It was very well written, but the whole scene sounded pretty skeezy. I almost felt like I needed a shower after reading it. So it was very descriptive. Then again, maybe it’s just me, since I’m a known puritan/prude/bluenose/Victorian.

    Anyway… congrats on the article and the response to it. It should help further things along for you. Have you thought of any good ideas that you could follow it with? From a marketing standpoint, it’s good to use that momentum.

  16. Blabby

    I don’t recommend the simultaneous TV/movie route that Jennifer Garner took. She got a lot of pubicity with the JLo/Ben stuff that really helped her out, because as much as I heart Sydney Bristow and 13 Going on 30, some of her movies didn’t do that great. And unless you’re super hot and can kick ass, you may need to rethink your strategy.

  17. Michelle Kane

    Wow! You read my mind! I was wondering the other day in my classroom teaching bored 11th graders how to write a proper thesis statement…who actually said,"April showers bring May flowers?" Someone actually said that?! Now I don’t have to google the answer:) Thanks! 🙂
    I have to share a secret with you! No one else knows this besides my husband who barely managed to mumble a "Hmmm…that’s good…" while absorbed in Sportscenter when I excitedly exclaimed,"I’ve been DISCOVERED on MYSPACE!
    Well…since wiping away the tears from losing the recent WRITER’s DIGEST SELF PUBLISHED BOOKS AWARD contest—a BIG NY literary agent noticed my novel CONFESSIONS OF A CATHOLIC SCHOOLGIRL on http://www.myspace.com/readmichellekane and told me to call him!
    So after a 30 MINUTE conversation on what he wants….I have sunk myself into reading all the modern young adult novels I can get my shaky (too many skinny lattes) hands on. A book proposal and synopsis to be completed over summer break. (Have fun with your new TEACHER over summer in my HOT classroom with NO A/C—whoever fails my class!) lol
    So….what is that you are inhaling in your photo? Glad to see you going GREEN Kevin. BTW…don’t say "you didn’t inhale." That’s so 90s. 🙂 Peace…or as my students say PEACE OUT!

  18. Stacey

    Kevin, I love your life lessons. When I finally finish writing my novel, and when it finally gets published, and when I am finally on the radio speaking about it, I’ll remember your incredibly wise advice. 🙂 You mentioned writing in first person and third person. Have you ever wrote in second person?

    Genevieve – I agree with what you said about having many voices. It is hard to transition sometimes for me between the grammatical/factual/studious voice I use for school essays and the free voice I use for creative writing on my own. Unfortunately, having never finished writing a novel, I don’t know what it’s like to get three rejection slips in one day. But I do know that Bo Bennett once said, "A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success."

  19. Danielle

    Think of it this way Kevin, at least you know people are reading yur article. Plus in the midst of all the accusations there was a two part post defending you. I don’t know if you saw that or not, but if not I just wanted to point that out. Besides you should know there is no use in looking for someone named anonymous or blah. If they are too afraid to write their name or initials then what they say isn’t worth reading let alone taking to heart. Personally I thought it was a great article.

  20. Genevieve

    It sounds like you’ve gotten great reactions from the article. Even though there were those people who accused you of plagiarizing, it sounds like you had mostly positive reviews. And I would take your mom’s reaction as a compliment. I find that there are different writing voices. My personal essay voice is different from my fiction voice. There’s the voice you use on the blog, there’s probably a different one for your book, and another, more detatched observer one for your non-fiction article. It’s tricky to switch off one and call on another.

    The panda sneeze was adorably goofy. I’m having a low morale day, so it perked me up a bit. I got three rejections yesterday. It’s hard when they hit you all at once like that, you know?


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