Woodworking: Friends help when those creative juices, like, run dryI turned 76 last month and, believe me, writing a weekly column at my advanced age is not for sissies. Oh, sure, there are exceptions. There was the legendary Minneapolis Tribune columnist who wrote four columns a week for 30 years.
By: Dave Wood, columnist, River Falls Journal
I turned 76 last month and, believe me, writing a weekly column at my advanced age is not for sissies. Oh, sure, there are exceptions.
There was the legendary Minneapolis Tribune columnist who wrote four columns a week for 30 years.
When he died his widow called the editor and said that her late beloved had stockpiled 200 columns that would enable him to communicate from the grave for at least a year.
But that’s the exception.
One of my friends wrote four columns a week for 19 years. By his 20th year, the well was dry.
And so he became the prey of every public relations and advertising agency hack in town. They’d meet him for lunch with ideas, most of them boring and so his career ended sadly.
So here I am, a sissy I guess, because I only write one column a week and every once in a while my well runs pretty low.
As yet, I haven’t had to count on the generosity of strangers to paraphrase Tennessee Williams.
No, but occasionally I do count on the generosity of friends.
Friends like Ruth Reilly, a former neighbor on Walnut Street who has retreated to the River Falls suburbs, but occasionally sends me something too good to leave out of the Journal.
Recently she sent me a photo she found on the Internet, which must have come from the Lone Star State.
The photo was originally taken on a church campus. Here’s what it said:
St. Catherine Episcopal Church
Gov. Perry. God Here.
The Voice In Your Head Is Not Me.
Take Your Meds.
Choir Practice Wed. 7 P.M.
That’s as good as those town signs that announce
By a Dam Site
Speaking of old friends, a few weeks ago we were dinner guests at the home of Joy Davis in White Bear Lake, Minn. Joy is a writer and lecturer on matters literary.
She spends winters in White Bear and summers in the town of Kinnickinnic.
She’s the widow of John Davis, former president of Macalester College and another Kinni denizen.
Joy, apparently, has become frustrated with newspeak that used to be the province of sloppy teenagers, but now a language you can hear on network TV.
So she sat down and wrote a parody of the way we talk by using a straightforward news item about car insurance from the Philadelphia Inquirer and adding the maddening locutions of the younger generation. Here’s what she came up with:
“Are you getting bombarded with, you know, insurance ads? Especially Auto like, you know. Auto gets the big push because — uhm — it’s, you know, mandatory. You, like, have to be covered — uhm — to get behind the wheel. And like, well — you know, everybody in the country drives.
“So it’s — uhm — required. And it’s, well, you know, expensive. That makes it — uhm — a tougher sell than, say, like beer. Or — uhm — tortilla chips.
“Insurance, you know, isn’t something we wake up like in the morning and want to think about. It’s like not fun to buy, and it’s — uhm — a big chunk of your income. So, you know, we need to make it — uhm - -engaging for people.
“So companies, like, build campaigns around personalities. Take Geico. It like the evergreen Gecko, you know, and now — hum — it has a squealing piggy.
“Today lots of companies have, you know, popular channels on You Tube devoted exclusively to, like, commercials. People vote on, like, what’s the funniest not, you know, the programming.
“The ads, like, create interest. The idea is — uhm — to drive people online to, you know, find out more.”
Whew! I got through another week. Thanks Ruth and Joy.
Dave would like to hear from you. Phone him at 715-426-9554.