Rock Me HardBy: Olivia Thorne
I once heard a question that both unnerved me and made things startlingly clear: is it more important to love someone with all your heart…
…or to be loved by someone with all of theirs?
We all want to fall head-over-heels in love, and we all want the other person to love us back exactly the same. But that’s not usually the way it turns out.
In fact, I think that’s rarely the way it turns out. Both people may be in love, but it always seems one person is more in love than the other.
So… if you had to choose, which would it be?
Love someone else passionately and completely, even if they don’t feel as powerfully as you?
Or be loved passionately and completely, even if you don’t feel exactly the same towards them?
I thought I knew the answer when I heard the question.
Then I found out years later that no… I didn’t know the answer at all.
I sat across from the Rolling Stone editor in his office overlooking midtown Manhattan.
I’d arrived 15 minutes early for my meeting. I thought I was there to interview for some lowly staff position. Layout grunt… gofer… toilet scrubber.
Actually, I hoped and dreamed it was a staff position. As desperate as I was, I would have taken an unpaid internship.
I mean, come on. It was Rolling Stone.
Glen the editor sat across the desk from me, hands folded, serene. He was bald on top with curly hair around the sides, and he wore black, plastic-frame hipster glasses. His personal sense of style was somewhere between 70’s Rocker and College Professor.
“Kaitlyn Reynolds. Finally we meet. Good to put a face with the voice over the phone.”
“Same here. Nice to meet you, too.”
“Journalism degree from Syracuse, right?”
“When did you graduate?”
“A year ago.” I put on a polite smile. “Almost to the day.”
“I read the pieces you emailed me. Not bad. Not great… but not bad.”
Not great… but not bad.
My temper spiked a little bit. I’m a bit of a hothead sometimes.
But I calmed myself down by thinking, When an editor at Rolling Stone says your stuff isn’t bad, ignore the ‘not great’ part.
“Well, I’m still working on building up my portfolio – ”
Glen interrupted me, ignoring what I was saying. “There was something I especially liked, a short story you wrote for the Syracuse literary magazine.”
I frowned. “I… didn’t include that in the email.”
“I know. I went and tracked it down on the internet. I liked it. Had a distinctive voice I don’t really see in your articles.”
My jaw set a little. “Um… thank you?”
Glen smiled. “I’m just saying I think you’ve got it in you to be a very good writer. It hasn’t come out yet, but you have a lot of potential. But you’re going to need to bring it out quick if this is going to work.”
My heart raced.
This sounded like it might be something better than a toilet-scrubbing position.
I swallowed. “Are you… are you offering me a job?”
“Not a ‘job,’ per se. But we want to give you a shot at a feature article. Shanna didn’t tell you?”
Shanna was my college roommate from freshman year at the University of Georgia. We lost touch when I went to Syracuse, but we stayed Facebook friends – which basically means I just read what she posted on her wall. She moved to New York City a couple of years before I did. When I announced on Facebook I was moving, too, she told me to look her up. That’s how we rekindled the friendship. We occasionally had dinner when I had the extra money (which wasn’t often) and when she wasn’t seeing three different guys at once (which was practically all the time).
I was starting to get dizzy. A shot at a feature article. “No, she was pretty vague about the whole thing.”
Glen grimaced. “Yeah… she said you might not be that happy with the assignment.”
Two minutes ago, I would have scrubbed toilets for free.
Now he was talking ‘feature article.’
‘Might not be happy with the assignment’?
I was fighting to get pieces published in crappy independent newspapers. You know, the kind mostly devoted to club ads listing what bands were playing, with dubious ‘massage’ ads in the back.
As for my online endeavors, the Huffington Post had turned me down three times in the last month.
I couldn’t even give my writing away.
And now I was talking with an editor at Rolling Stone about a feature article.
There was nothing I wouldn’t do for a break like this. Undercover hooker? ‘Day in the life of a sewage worker’? Pro bono proctology exams? I was there.