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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
                 Friday, July 18 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmasterMoment of truth

As already mentioned, the night I stomped up the stairs as a junior higher to my room with an attitude of "showing" my dad was not the beginning of my trying to write; I'd already been a correspondent for the Mountaineer-Herald for a year or two. But it was the moment at which I concluded that the only thing I had that could be made into something capable of "showing" dad was my writing. I also knew that would require a lot of work and a new approach. Up till now it had been a way to make a few bucks each month to save toward a trip to Washington D.C. at the end of eighth grade, and after that goal was met, whatever I wanted to save up for next.

An aside: I'm convinced that one of my favorite contemporary writers, Frank McCourt of Angela's Ashes fame, tells a lot of fibs in his purportedly biographical writing. He describes in vivid details incidents from his childhood even to age three or perhaps younger, and I'm convinced no one can recall that much that far back or, speaking only from my own experience, a decade or two back. I bring this up because I wish I could tell you I started writing my first novel, the aptly named Test of Manhood, that evening and finished the first draft of the first chapter. But in fact I don't know if I even wrote the first page or the title that evening. I do know it was a turning point, a moment of truth, at which I went from "using" writing to "being" a writer.

The novel was never peddled to the publishers; no novel even to this day has gotten that far, though unlike my Nanty Glo novel which some of you have read as far as it goes, that first one was finished. Not finished well; never polished or rewritten, steps that are usually inescapable in the process of birthing a novel. But it did have a beginning, a middle, and an end. It was a turning point, but.... There are lots of turning points in a writer's life.

I've already related the impact of coming to work for Andy Rogalski, the editor of the Nanty Glo Journal who made our hometown paper the most honored weekly in Pennsylvania for a couple of halcyon years, and another moment, when I realized that his "bird-dogging" me about working harder at my writing was a great gift. Just as important was the day he offered me the opportunity to succeed him as the paper's third editor, at the salad-green age of 20. Acceptance and winning a scholarship to accept back a place in the 1960 freshman class at Johnstown College was another, as was discovering "by accident" that there was a master of arts program in journalism at UCLA, and my subsequent acceptance in it.

But that night at age 14, born of a passionate burst of vindictive anger, was the first such moment, and one no less important than any of the others.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

A hundred years ago in the USA

YEAR 1903 in the United States of America...what a difference a century makes. More US statistics for 1903.

Eighteen percent of households in the United States had at least one full-time servant or domestic.
There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire United States.

Just think what it will be like in another 100 years. It boggles the mind!

— Sent by Mary Ann Losiewcz

Thought for today

All of us learn to write in the second grade. Most of us go on to greater things.

— Bobby Knight

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