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Good Morning Nanty Glo!


Friday, April 8 2005
Jon Kennedy, webmaster

More thoughts about
why I'm a writer

In not quite so many words, on Wednesday I said I became a writer because, 1) I'm shy (which I expressed then as "not gregarious") and 2) I was afraid to speak in my father's presence. There are, of course, more attending facts and mitigations about it than those two that came out only through intense therapy in my forties.

I've told earlier in these Jonals how Mrs. Yobaggy in sixth grade praised my first one-paragraph "story," about which I remember nothing except that it had as its moral "turning defeat into victory." And Mrs. Manseau, in the next grade and as the best English teacher I had in my public school career, encouraged me to write for the Mountaineer Herald as a means of getting the few dollars it would take to make a trip to Washington with the eighth grade class over a year later. I could just say I'm a writer because Mrs. Manseau gave me the vision of writing as something I could do (and something Mrs. Yobaggy had already confirmed I could do better than most) to make easy, if not big, money.

But as Harlan Ellison famously said, "Anybody can become a writer, but the trick is to STAY a writer." So the question then becomes, after earning and spending my busfare to Washington in 1956, why did I stay a writer? I was already hooked. Though in the big scheme of things having a neighborhood news column in the Mt. Herald was no big deal, the recognition for that was the first recognition for anything (other than grades on my report cards, which were not always spectacular) —the first/only thing considered positive in my life. There was also the discipline of going out every week to get the news, and sitting— fidgeting—at the chair in my upstairs room long enough to make my dollar-sixty every week. As Howard Fast recalled in a recent number of "Chicken Soup for the Soul": "How did I become a writer? That can be answered in one line—the back of my seat to the seat of the chair." I'm sure that's a widely shared perception, among writers, of how they managed to make a career out of writing.

I can also apply an apophatic approach to answering the question. I'm still a writer because my career as a disc jockey didn't get off the ground. Probably most male teenagers in 1962 dreamed of being spinners of records on the radio (there were no women DJs yet in those days), but I got as far as making the approach at start-up WEND in Ebensburg and was given a chance to do some work there before the station went on the air. I spent an afternoon writing commercials for the local merchants and institutions that had been induced to buy airtime. But before I got my second trip to the studios to continue and make myself available for discovery for my innate on-air personality talent, I got the fateful call from Andy Rogalski that changed my life and sealed my career choice as "writer" for ever more. He was calling to set up a meeting at the Journal offices, in which he offered me a fulltime job with the Sedloff Publications. It was his job as editor of the Journal and feature editor for the Sedloff group.

I don't think I even called WEND back the next week to ask if they had another batch of commercials ready for writing. I had bigger fish to fry.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

A complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005

Tips for job hunters

If you're in the job market right now you might want to familiarize yourself with the Human Resources Lingo...

"SOME OVERTIME REQUIRED" Some time each night and some time each weekend.

"DUTIES WILL VARY" Anyone in the office can boss you around.

Thought for today (last in series)

Christian one-liners
We don't change the message, the message changes us.

Sent by Carl Essex  

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