In My Orbit: A viral article and CNN

29 06 2013
Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I talked to my dear friend Anna last night and said to her “I could not have scripted this day.”

That would be yesterday (Friday), when my morning was supposed to begin teaching a 6:30 am Yoga class. My alarm did not go off, so I woke up at 6 am–the time I’m supposed to be at the studio. Through my ingrained pre-planning (thank you, Mom) and Los Angeles traffic being non-existent (yes, Jesus lives!), I made it to my Yoga studio in 15 minutes, and was still able to teach the class. I’m grateful for that, as I wouldn’t want to disappoint the students–I know how important it is to start your day centered.

Unfortunately, I did not get that luxury!

I had no idea when I wrote my usual Washington Times Communities article on Thursday night that it would go viral. Rachel Jeantel’s testimony in the George Zimmerman murder trial was a hot topic for all the wrong reasons, and I wanted to speak to what I felt the heart of the issue should be. I took great pains to be consistent in writing a good story that I was passionate about, and attempted to file on time, knowing that I had a packed morning the next day.

Within an hour of my posting the piece, my editor emailed me to say it was trending at 2,495 hits. I was surprised, but immediately dismissed it, as I had to go to bed so that I could be rested for that early morning class.

After the eventful morning, I came home to a mailbox full of comments from the Communities page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.  That didn’t include the comments from “Shares” done by Twitter followers and Facebook friends to their pages.

I figured I would sit down, respond to what I could, and start writing an article for my other gig, Examiner.com. The best laid plans of mice and men…

My phone rang, and the Caller ID said “CNN” with a 212 area code. I thought, Seriously? This can’t be… but I picked up the call, and it indeed was. A producer from the Erin Burnett Outfront show asked if I could be a part of a panel. I let her know I needed to check with my editor and I would get back to her. My editor did not hesitate in approving this (she was over the moon about it), so I immediately called the producer back and said it was go. Wish everything went that quickly in Hollywood!

Two hours later, I was picked up by a car service, whisked to the CNN building on Sunset Boulevard, put in a make up chair, seated in a black box studio, and fitted with a mike and earpiece for the show. Ten minutes later, it was done.

For those interested, here’s a brief snippet of the panel:

Erin Burnett Outfront CNN Panel: Zimmerman Witness on Trial?

I was thanked for my time, the car service whisked me home and it was back to Friday as usual.

Or… not. The story is still striking a chord, and the commentary continues to come in, especially after the CNN appearance. Some positive, a lot of negative, some downright ridiculous. I hope the conversation grows stronger, and goes toward making a difference in how we train our children for the world.

I’m still bemused by the whole thing, almost like viewing it from a dream state–but it’s quite real. I was especially humbled by a woman’s comment on Twitter: “Brilliant. No words.  I’ve printed it out for our daughters. Sometimes it’s ‘easier’ hearing it from someone other than a parent.”

You become a writer to express your voice, and have an influence. It is quite sobering to see when you’ve done just that.

A friend just messaged me to check in to see how I’m doing, for which I am very grateful. He said, “Most people only talk about cultural influence…you actually did it… Hang in there boss.”

Hanging in. We’ll see where the next wave lands.

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