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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