Post ID 678

January 5, 2004|Posted in: Uncategorized

Kickoff

I always tell my writer friends they should make a list of goals at the beginning of each year and stick to them. I actually made that list myself a few weeks ago, mid-December, just to get a jump on the new year, but blogging wasn’t even remotely on the list. It just occurred to me a few days ago that I might like to actually have an inspiration to write. I could journal. Or not. I need to make myself write regularly, for public regurgitation — I mean, for your reading pleasure! And I don’t mean fascinating stories about parking meters and the PTA. For that kind of fun, check out www.alamedasun.com

But enough of this. More good stuff. (Or any good stuff at all…)

So…Modern Muse…the title of my column that appears once a month or more often if deemed necessary at the Sun during harried editorial moments. Like when some yahoo doesn’t turn in his stuff. Somebody’s got to fill the hole and it is generally Madame Editrix. (This is she, for the uninitiated.)

(NB — my staff are wonderful, fabulous, hard-working folk. It isn’t they. It’s that band of rabble known as freelancers who slack and backslide and forget to write their piece and turn it in. My 13-year-old is just like that. She gets a homework assignment and then forgets to do it, forgets that she even has an assignment, even if she was excited or even vaguely interested in it when she got it. Then the day before it is due — like today, the very last bloody day of Christmas hols, she remembers, “Oh, yeah. I have homework. It’s due tomorrow…” My freelance stable is like that. I once had a woman cajole me into letting her write a column on a set topic, and against my better judgment I said yes. Monday came and went, Tuesday rippled by and no column. I finally called her and said, hey, sweetie, didn’t you have a column for me? She laughed it off and said, “Oh, well, I didn’t have time to write it.” No phone call, no e-mail, just that she hadn’t had the time and wasn’t, apparently, going to let me know about it. Jolly. Then she says, “Oh, but I do have some photos for you if you’d like.” And she goes to elaborate lengths to messenger the photos over to me. In the envelope I find two — a photo of a heron standing in a pool of water — apropos to WHAT? And the second pic is of her — the erstwhile writer, and her dog frolicking in the hills, taking a hike. Apparently that’s why she didn’t have time to write the column; she spent her Sunday afternoon hiking with her dog and setting up the timer on the camera. And you know, that’s always what your editor wants to see when you neglect to turn in your story — photos of you doing something else instead of writing the assignment…But I digress…)

Note to aspiring writers: make a list, check it twice, and turn the bloody thing in on time. And I mean that in the nicest way possible.

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Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of "Veronika Layne Gets the Scoop" and "Veronika Layne Has a Nose for News" (rep'd by Booktrope). She is the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. Her articles have appeared in Thrillist, Quill, Paste, San Francisco Chronicle, and in many magazines; her latest poetry appears in The East Bay Literary review.

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