Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Last But Not Least...
My, my, my, we’re quite the caffeinated bunch—I love it!
By the way, I’m a grande, non-fat caramel macchiato girl all the way. I still probably frequent Starbucks the most, but Caribou is running a close second these days now that I’m back in Minnesota.
Now that I’m off my coffee tangent, (I do love a good tangent, just ask my hubby or any of my friends) lemme properly introduce myself. I’m Christa Banister, the fourth of the Scribble Chicks checkin’ in here. I’m really excited about blogging alongside these fabulous women—and fantastic writers to boot. I think it’s going to be a really fun time, and I hope you enjoy reading as much as we’ll enjoy jotting down our thoughts on writing and whatever else springs to mind.
Thanks to my grandfather who loved reading everything from Dr. Seuss to Beverly Cleary to me as a kid, I grew up loving the written word. In fact, I’m pretty sure the only reason I ever played with Barbies was to make up stories about them.
And when I wasn’t working out the details of Barbie and Ken living happily ever after, I loved writing little books about everyday life, complete with ratty little illustrations. One of my favorites was about a turtle named Buddy who was going to a birthday party—why that brilliant piece of work didn’t become a New York Times’ bestseller, well, I’ll never know.
But one book in particular, Judy Blume’s Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, was “The One” that solidified my future career choice. I decided that if Judy Blume could make up stories as funny as that for a living (I checked the book out so many times, the longsuffering librarian ended up just giving it to me at the end of the school year), that’s exactly what I wanted to do.
Surprisingly enough, I never wavered in my ambition.
So I did all that a junior high and high school-aged person could do: I wrote in my spare time, worked my way up the school newspaper ranks and dreamed about my glamorous future, a favorite pastime of mine since I grew up in a no-stoplight town of 3,900.
Once I made my way to Minneapolis for college where I studied journalism, I was in heaven. Not only did I discover this bliss that is coffee and lived only a few miles from the second biggest mall in the world, but I had a whole new audience to share my writing with. And it was those clips for our college paper, The Northern Light, that eventually helped pave the way for my journalistic future.
After an internship as a real newspaper reporter with proper beats and everything, I quickly learned the newspaper life was not the life for me. But I did love writing features and human interest stories, so I decided that magazines were the way to go. But what magazine would I like to work at?
Well, I was fascinated by Christian music and the artists who created it. So even though I’d only been there once before, I eventually moved to Nashville after college graduation. Hoping to land a gig at CCM Magazine, the industry’s leading publication, I worked three odd jobs for a year and a half, dutifully sending my resumé to the CCM editors, just hoping they’d notice me.
And then, while working at the local Christian bookstore, my track record of dead ends with CCM changed with one rather fortuitous meeting. After chatting with someone from CCM’s circulation department, I found out there were a couple of openings in editorial. Wasting no time, I sent my resumé (they sooo had to be tired of seeing my name over and over again), and I had an interview the next week, and the “Editorial Assistant” job two weeks after that.
Needless to say, I, not to mention my mom worrying 800+ miles away, were happy about that.
I liked working at CCM so much, I stayed for five and a half years, taking on various editorial capacities and loving every minute of it. Whether I was writing about a new band, interviewing one of my favorite artists, updating the website or traveling somewhere like London for an assignment, I was in heaven.
Then right around the time I got engaged in 2005 to my hubby of almost four years, Will, I knew it was time for my next professional leap. Really, if you’re changing one thing about your life already (i.e. getting married), I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal to change something else big, too. So I dove in headfirst and launched my own freelance writing business, which I continue to run today.
In addition to writing about Christian music, I review a slew of movies and books and have also written two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers, which released in 2007 and 2008 respectively.
Writing fiction (just like Judy Blume) has been such an exciting challenge—and delight—and I sooo can’t wait to do more of it. Now if there were only more hours in the day…
I’m sure my fellow Scribble Chicks can relate to that.
Not to seem completely single-minded there are several things I love doing besides plunking down in front of my trusty MacBook. I’m a Food Network junkie of the worst order and absolutely love to cook (Italian food is my specialty). And I’m just as enthusiastic about playing Scrabble (just ask my husband). One day I look forward to abandoning the frozen tundra of Minnesota for good and living somewhere where I can have my own herb garden (yes, I dream of growing fresh basil and rosemary…dorky, I know). Sleeping is also a wonderful, wonderful thing, something I sooo didn’t appreciate until recently.