Monday, January 30, 2012

Deadline Artists

Last Friday I accompanied my son on an all-day orientation visit to Ball State.  But since my daughter is now a senior at BS, and this is the campus I helped to build, I did not participate in many of the orientation shenanigans, but rather, sat in the Woodworth Hall dining area for hours and read Deadline Artists: America's Greatest Newspaper Columns, edited by John Avlon, Jesse Angelo & Errol Louis (Overlook, 2011). 

I was elated by this book.

Anyone who enjoys a good column, or revisiting the ambiance of the golden era of American journalism, will appreciate this smorgasbord.  Amazing fare here including such liminaries as Ernie Pyle, Mike Royko, Erma Bombeck, Jimmy Breslin, William F. Buckley Jr., Molly Ivins, Dave Barry, and a cast of contemporaries like Peggy Noonan, George F. Will, and Marjorie Williams.

And with the book divided into themes such as War, Politics, Humor, Sports, Local Voices, Farewells, and Pursuit of Happiness . . . one can dot around in the book for an insight or a laugh without feeling overwhelmed by any one voice or topic.  Read on!

This book also inspired me to meet my deadlines . . . as upon arriving home on Friday night, I discovered several large packages on my front door, each of which included books for my review.  Now I have to write my columns!

I shouldn't have any problem doing this.  I'll read these books pronto and whip out a slick review for each.  I won't be working on a typewriter with a cigarette dangling from my lower lip, but I might brew a pot of coffee and type with two fingers ala Ernest Hemingway. I may work all night or rise extra early some mornings this week to whip these book reviews into submission.

And for all those writers out there who are having trouble getting off the dime and writing that next essay . . . just imagine you are up against a wall and have a deadline looming . . . every day. If that doesn't light a fire and keep you up nights I don't know what will.  Let that deadline of the mind torment you, eat at you, inspire you, give you indigestion . . . and then type on into the dark night of the soul.  You can pee later.   

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