I never know what to do with these.
I wrote 53 newspaper columns in 2013. One more than you might think necessary, although that number could rise.
Quality aside, though, I wrote them and I’ve got them. Nobody else does, this side of a few apparently stuck on fridges somewhere or folded up, to be forgotten anyway. I completely understand the ephemeral nature of this dying business.
Some of them disappear with cause. The nice thing about deadlines is I’ve got to write them, regardless of inspiration. The not-so-nice thing has to do with the inspiration part.
I grasp the lameness aspect as well as anyone, I suspect. And the over-reaches and repetition and similar rhythms and run-on sentences and style excesses and so on. Some of them deserve to disappear.
But given the subject matter, which mostly revolves around whatever grabs my attention on a Monday morning, it turns out that I have 52 (plus one, thanks to a mid-week New Year’s Day) snapshots of a year that I will definitely not forget. And as I glance through these, noting the hints of topical in the humdrum, little wisps of national, global, or local news, I see my life unfold over a calendar that I will always remember.
I made a movie this year. I marked 30 years of marriage this year. I became a grandfather this year. I had some inspiration, as it turned out.
Here’s a sampling, then, of 2013 as played out in print, 900 words at a time. It’s representative, but in no particular way, other than these were the columns that drew the most mail. It seems appropriate to me, and logical: These were the ones I can verify that someone read. I mean. You’ve gotta have some standards.
Defining Our Terms – Semantics, minor trauma, and a dinner party.
Finding The Right Key – A Christmas gift dusts off old dreams, and a young teacher (and pupil).
Life On Elm Street – Young eyes in Dallas, half a century later.
My Big Fat Gay Movie – That one.
Off The Map – Google Earth takes me back, three decades and a left turn off I-17.
The Descendant – Guess.
Remember My Name – Putting grandparenthood in perspective.
The Massachusetts Story You Missed – Bombing in Boston, and a Pulitzer Prize
Why I Care, And Why I Don’t – The one in which I approve of love.
Y Chromosomes, And Why Not? – A couple of guys, home alone.
Watching The Grass Grow – My lawn could tell you stories. Including one that hadn’t quite happened yet.