It is with some sadness that decided to put my contributions to Non-Sport Update on hold for a while. Next issue’s ( Vol. 21-1 January 15th street date) Cards Online Column will be my last submission for a while.
As cliche as it is the lyric “What a long strange trip it’s been” is, it comes to mind any time I think about my tenure at NSU. It all started back in 2002 (my first work was published in 2003′s January issue). For some reason long forgotten, but probably archived in an email or web post, I decided I would be an okay writer for The Wrapper. I sent an unsolicited email in to Les and was promptly turned down. They said they had plenty of writers and I left it at that. Writing for NSU didn’t seem to be a possibility after getting turned down by The Wrapper — it was the bigger, flashier, color magazine. The Toser’s must have seen something they liked in all the bytes I had been posting on Card Talk because shortly after getting rejected by The Wrapper, Non-Sport Update approached me to pen an article for them.
The rest, as they always seem to say, is history. . . I started writing feature articles, but found myself writing about TV shows I never watched — Smallville, Alias and Xena come to mind. When that happened I would always run to Best Buy and buy a season of whatever show it was on DVD. Before writing a single word I’d watch the entire season. It was always important for me to ‘get’ what I was writing about and have an opinion about the subject — that was something I took very seriously, and it frequently left me cramming an entire season in just a couple of weeks. After two years of features I got up the gumption to ask for the Cards Online column. It was Don Norton’s baby, but as I recall it he was looking to do more feature articles and had been pulling double writing duties for a while. My request was granted, and Cards Online was in my care for the next five years — hopefully I did Don proud.
Looking back there were certainly peaks and valleys for me, but mostly I’m just sort of shocked it has been over 7 years, and 43 issues since I started. A few really big highlights come to mind, after only a year behind the keys for NSU they asked me to interview JJ Abrams and Jennifer Garner about Alias. For whatever reason Garner never was able to do the interview, but Abrams came through and they had me interview Kevin Weisman instead of Garner. You did read the previous paragraph right. . . I hadn’t seen a single frame of Alias when they asked me to do these interviews.
Imagine the look on my face when I headed out to Best Buy to pick up Alias Season 1 and discover — it’s not on DVD yet! The crisis was averted when I was able to get the entire first season on VHS from Inkworks. I bought a small earpiece recorder at Radio Shack, plugged it into a micro cassette recorder and interviewed both Abrams and Weisman standing over my washing machine since the only phone line to my house was a DSL line that only existed in my basement. . . what an adventure! Those are great guys, and they were great interviews. . . one day I should find and digitize those tapes.
Another highlight was the article I wrote on sketch cards. The issue number escapes me, but I remember being very passionate about the topic, and being so pleased with the final product that I felt like a bona fide writer for the first time. Years later, when I met Steven Miller (one of the artists featured in the article) at a convention he asked me to sign his copy of the magazine and told me he carried that issue with him to help build his reputation as an artist.
More recently I’ve been proud of the times I’ve been able to bring information to collectors that isn’t available in other pages of the magazines — controversial topics like counterfeit autographs, and forged sketches. As you can imagine those topics don’t always sit well with advertisers, but I felt it was important to have informed collectors and I hope I was able to write the articles in a way that everyone from dealer to manufacturer, to collector and to publisher could be satisfied. . .
Not to worry though. . . While days as a regular columnist heading up Cards Online have come to a close I’ll still be writing about all of the things I wrote in the magazine . . . right here on webjon. Perhaps one day I’ll be writing for NSU again when life allows the time. Thank you to everyone at NSU, and to everyone reading this post.