Art Attack – Putting down the gun
I’ve discovered after 14 months of writing a weekly column that I’m not a deadline writer. Paradoxically, those 50-plus columns would never have seen the light without a looming deadline.
Friend and former Eurekan, Jane Fishman, came to visit us this week. She’s a columnist for the Savannah Morning News who was responsible for banging out three columns a week (whew!). She has since slowed down to a weekly column to work on her second book.
In the early days of the Citizen, I sat in amazement as I watched Bill King not only write three quarters of the paper, but an editorial and column every week, while I struggled to write “witty” captions to my photographs.
Friend, writer, editor and publisher of the Independent, Mary Pat Boian, is one of my heroines – someone who can do it all – and on time. Her ISAWARKANSAS was original, insightful, witty and personal without making it all about her, and always worth a second read.
I’m not schooled in writing or journalism, in fact I’m sure every English teacher I ever had would be shocked this D student could put a simple sentence together.
My writing skills came from the people I read. Writers whose work I admired and respected, from the above mentioned, to former and current colleagues Dale McCurry, Vernon Tucker and Dan Krotz (how does he say so much with so few words?), to the late Molly Ivins, Frank Rich and Gail Collins.
I was lamenting last week to a friend about my struggle with coming up with a column and how long it takes me to find the right words. Her response, “That weekly column is why so many writers will never be columnists. It’s hard.”
It is hard, but terribly rewarding when this disciplined act all comes together.
Deadlines are essential in life. Without them, nothing would ever get done. It’s a writer’s best friend, but for me, it’s time to put down the weekly gun to the head, at least for a while, and move on to other art related things.
It’s really more of a time management issue. There are just not enough hours in the day for this restless Gemini to “do it all.”
I’m not sure I’d be comfortable adding “writer” to my résumé, but I am proud of this column and proud of my association with the Independent. There are a lot of voices and opinions out there, and I thank the people who took the time to read mine.
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