My Newest Writing Assignment

I mentioned in my last posting that I was working on a ‘writing project’. I no longer have to be vague and/or mysterious about it. Through a series of referrals (Thanks very much, Maktaaq and Travis), I was put in touch with an editor at the LA Times, who happens to be an old friend of Travis.

It seems that the LA Times Editorial Dept. was kicking around the idea early last week that an American who had left the country for Canada due in some part to the reelection of Bush in 2004 might have some potentially humorous commentary on the fact that that they now live in a country with a Conservative Prime Minister while the US has since elected a Democratic majority in Congress. So with three degrees of separation traversed, I offered to try to write the Op Ed, knowing full well that if they didn’t like it, my efforts would be up on this blog and that would be that.

I gave it my best shot, spending a three-day holiday weekend holed up in my office at the keyboard writing drafts and running them by friends and family (Thanks also to Pam, Sooz and Matt), trying to get the jokes right, and trying to get it down to between 500 and 800 words. (it’s always easy to write more, harder to write tighter).

The result is…tomorrow I’ll be published in the LA Times! As soon as the URL goes live, I’ll blast out an email announcement to everyone I know, and will copy the text to this blog, since the link will go dark after about 30 days, and I can’t very well plagiarize myself.

Do I like the piece? Well, it’s probably a bit more intentionally humorous than I typically write, and there was one joke in particular that was pulled by the editors because it was a ‘cheap shot’. No matter. Like most writing projects (and I can now say this with conviction), the best part is now, when it’s over and done with. Just as I was happy a decade ago to get to say “I’ve written a couple of books”, I’m also pleased that after tomorrow, I’ll be able to say “I’ve written for the LA Times”.

4 Replies to “My Newest Writing Assignment”

  1. So, using words like “holistic” is your litmus test for good government ? Way cool, dude. I like how, in your article, you poke fun at yourself with references to granola, Birkenstocks, etc. (I mean, I assume you’re making a stereotype of yourself humorously). What happens if Canada’s government moves right-ward (in your view, anyway), are you off to Sweden or the Soviet Union? Leaving your homeland instead of trying to effect change is the ultimate “cut and run”, but I guess you didn’t think America was worth the effort. I can’t imagine that anyone misses you.

  2. Hi Dave-

    Just read your op-ed in the LA Times online. I’m a born-again Christian and probably politically to the right of Barry Goldwater. I’ve been an ex-pat for 18 years, in Greece where I preach the gospel in the open air. I feel the heat of the threat of the rise of radical Islam here, and it’s frightening. I believe we need to be confrontational with the Islamicists, and then after we’ve whipped them, help them into the 21st century through access to all kinds of education and technology. I know you don’t agree with this, but that’s ok.

    I’m sorry you feel the way you do about the political landscape in the US. I really miss the US, although Europe does have some good points. I hope that the hatred and bad feelings that I see on both sides of the political spectrum via the web mellows into intelligent, spirited dialogue in which we can disagree without being disagreeable, as the old chestnut goes.

    Here’s hoping in the future sometime that, whoever is in charge of our government, civil discourse will rule.

    I thought that I’d write this to you as a saner voice from the other side of the fence before the inevitable rabid-right hate mail you’ll probably get.

    sincerely, right but not rabid— Dan Truitt

  3. Well Jerry, you’re right, ‘holistic’ is not a good test for governmental power. I just was surprised to hear it come out of anyone’s mouth outside of an acupuncture/homeopathic clinic.

    What if Canada turns further rightward? Well, they’ve got quite a ways to go. The Soviet Union is long gone, and Sweden isn’t exactly letting anybody in. We had a list of countries at the time we were thinking of ‘cutting and running’, and don’t have any plans to move further down on the list at the moment.

    Stay and fight? Hey, I paid my dues, first working for the Dean campaign, and then somewhat less enthusiastically, the Kerry campaign. I went door to door in the swing state of New Hampshire (and now realize I should have done that in Ohio).

    The trillions in US debt, is what we saw it looming over our retirement. It was a choice between make as much money as we could in our earning years and hoping we’d fall into the right side of the wealth divide when the chickens came home to roost, or invest in living in a fiscally more responsible country.

    As for anyone missing us, we left lots of friends and family behind, so I’ll try and ignore that last comment.


    Dan –

    Thanks for the civil reply. I’m pleased to hear from a ‘sane’ voice from the other side. Like most human beings, I’m not a walking stereotype, and despite the fact that I don’t agree with ‘whipping’ the Muslims and giving them access to technology , I can understand your motives and can’t argue with your ultimate good intentions.

    In some ways, we left partly because of the acrimony you speak of. It had reached the point where we couldn’t have any discussion any more, because the very idea of ‘intelligent, spirited dialog’ without shouting and epithets had become a Liberal weakness in itself, at least according to the pundits on the right.

    I definitely agree with you that civil discourse is the way that any government should operate, and fortunately that has not been lost in Canada, and shows no sign of leaving it yet.

  4. With respect, I suffer head-exploding cognitive dissonance when I hear someone bemoan the lack of civil discourse while that person simultaneously demonizes everyone whose views diverge from his (e.g., “the catastrophe that is George W. Bush and his henchmen,” “the religious conservatives who hijacked the government,” “America wasn’t any longer the country that I grew up in.”) This is your idea of “intelligent, spirited dialog”? (Yeah, I know—”they” started it.)

    As nonsensical as all that is, what’s really galling is your suggestion that you paid your debt in full to this great country—simply by “working for the Dean campaign”!

    If you have so little regard for the rest of us and—more importantly—for the democratic principle that all sides abide by the results of elections, then perhaps it’s best that you stay in Canada. Heck, if this global warming stuff pans out, Canada just might warm up enough to (finally) be worth the trouble of annexing, and your country will rejoin you.

    Finally, it must be pointed out that net emigration between Canada and the States is significantly in favor of the U.S. Perhaps not all of your new friends are quite as smitten with big gummint as you are.

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