Friday, October 02, 2009

One Writer's Nostalgia for Former Subjects

'The pile of old newspapers and magazines sat weathered and dusty on my office floor. It was hard not to notice them when you entered the room, yet I managed to block them from my peripheral vision for more than two months. Once our two new kittens began to use the pile of reading material as a bed, however, I knew it was time to do something. There aren't many things worse than the smell of newspapers on which almost-totally-trained cats have lounged.The reason I'd been putting off going through those old publications was simple and understandable, if you're a long-time writer, as I am. That seemingly annoying stack of slush represented ten years of my career...They dated between 1995 and 2005, and most of the articles I'd written for them had not been placed on the Internet. They existed only in ink...As I read through articles from several years ago, I recalled vivid details, not so much of the actual writing process, but of meeting the people and visiting the places described in the articles. There was the dad who painted a mural of the Wizard of Oz across all four walls of his daughter's bedroom, the florist whose dog liked to wear cool sunglasses while riding in the car and the homeowner who happily gave my two-month-old daughter a bottle while I jotted down notes about her living room. I remembered lugging an infant to interviews when I couldn't find a sitter, and the extremely considerate interviewees who never complained about the extra bundle at the interview. I recalled the quote from a longtime Browns fan who was selling off his extensive memorabilia: "When I got married, I told my wife the Browns come first on Sundays. As you get older, you realize it's not that important." I can see myself sitting in the home of two prominent lawyers, who welcomed me in as though they had all the time in the world to talk with me.The articles reminded me of the people I'd met and the kindnesses they'd offered me. I thought about the joys and sorrows they shared with me, the way they confided in me as though I was a good friend and how thrilled they were to read about themselves, their business or their home in a publication.'
--From my friend Diane DePiero's recent blog post. Veteran writers will recognize the way she fondly recalls former subjects of her writing.


At 2:16 AM, Blogger sevnetus said...

I respect my grandmother's spare bedroom with stacks of newspapers five feet high. She loved life and wouldn't let you lie about it - she had the proof. She had JFK on the walls and mirrors. I wish I could respect the PD as much as she did.

At 4:01 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I was quite touched by this, and could feel your palpable love for your grandmother in these few words. Unfortunately, too many newspapers, certainly the PD included, have failed to earn the respect of readers lately, so they only have themselves to blame. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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