Monday, September 24, 2012

My Column from Sunday's Paper

Some days writing this column is as easy as telling a story to an old friend. Some days finding the words comes so hard, that it would be less painful to have the enamel scraped off your front teeth with a rasping file.

Today has been one of the latter days.

I’ve written three pieces today, all of which seemed as thin as onion skin, so I saved them to my “work in progress” folder. 

This is where I put things I’ve wasted a good bit of time on, and don’t have the guts to delete them. I would have been better off going fishing, cutting grass, or dusting behind my computer. 

At least I’d have something to show for the time I spent. That’s not the way it works. I’ve spent a lot of time reading about how to become a good writer, and listening to writers at conferences. They all say that you must write through the garbage to get to the good stuff. I don’t think they realize how bad my garbage stinks at times.

At any rate, I did what they suggested. I got a glass of iced tea, took my laptop to the side porch, turned on the ceiling fan, and started tapping keys. And eventually this idea came.

I know that I only write one column a week, and some may say “What’s the big deal, just write something.” But it’s not that easy for me. I feel that I owe my readers my best. 

Doing my best is something that was etched into my brain from a very early age. My mom insisted on it. 

Whether I was working on a science project, writing a paper, or playing little league baseball, doing my best was expected.

I didn’t have to be the smartest, the fastest, or the strongest. 

As long as I did my best she stood behind me. If on the other hand I sandbagged, she’d be all over me like a chicken on a Junebug. To continue on the theme of trying to do my best, I wrote a few weeks ago about my new book “Life Happens”. I thought it would have been at the printer by now, but I wanted it to be as error free as possible. 

So I asked Dale Short to do one final scan, and I also asked my friend Asa Faith Randolph, who taught English at Walker High School for years, to sharpen her red pencil and go over it too. Together they found upwards of 30 errors in a book that I thought was tighter than a Shakespeare Sonnet. 

The printers will have the final book by the time this column appears. I’ll be signing books during the holidays.


  1. Boy you really are worried about this.
    Can you imagine after all this, it gets printed and you find one more error somewhere?
    I remember those days when secretaries had head aches doing things perfect. It's so much easier today using a computer. It even helps you spell check.That's one thing and I happy changed for the better.

  2. Anonymous9:10 AM

    You will be doubly proud of it once printed because of all the extra effort you put into it.

  3. I think grammar is different for everyone. I am kidding.
    I dropped over from mybabyjohn/Delores and will look forward to reading your stories. B

  4. My mom also told me to always do my best. She used to write a column for our local paper and spent long hours on it. I was so proud of her. God bless.


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