A reflection on column writing
Henry Gens | Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Well, it’s time for the Semester Inside Column (SIC). The SIC is a largely unedited biannual ritual for writers on the staff of this lovely paper that is loved, hated and everything in between — but always 450 words.
Every writer has a different aim in this piece, and my goal here is unabashedly to just get it done. Honestly, there’s nothing that I really want to get up on my soapbox about today; if that’s what you were hoping for, the fine folks over at Viewpoint do an excellent job.
Even though I’m not feeling the whole expound eloquently about a worthy cause, I’m still somewhat excited to be writing this column. See, for a news writer like me this is a completely different experience. In fact, it’s just about the only time I get to blatantly disregard AP style! Did you just see that exclamation mark? Wow! There’s another! My writing is so much more interesting! Not only do I get to be cavalier with those adorable little inverted i’s, I can also freely abuse apostrophes, name numbers, and employ Oxford commas. This is already forty-three percent better!
Ah, there’s so much un-styled evil in that last paragraph that I think my stomach just churned a little glancing back over it. Inducing physical illness? Not bad for a second inside column.
You see, I’m really trying to work with what I got here, which isn’t a whole lot to go off of. This engine’s running on empty, so to speak. The problem is, I just spent all day between a plane and a bus, with the no-man’s land of luscious airport connecting the two. You’d think with the amount of time I spend sitting at a desk as an engineering student here that I would’ve gone sufficiently soft enough to not mind being sedentary for a whole day, but it turns out that there’s a whole other level of enervation required beyond the one I so comfortably inhabit.
Of course, the day I spent standing in long security lines and sitting in sterile seats also happened to be the day that something diametrically opposed was happening on the human momentum spectrum — a miracle marathon was run by Meb Keflezighi. For those of you non-endurance sports individuals that have endured my column thus far, Meb is the first American to win the Boston Marathon since 1983. For most elite marathoners in the field, that would’ve been before they were born, but not for Meb, who turns 39 in a couple of weeks. Everything about this win was as unlikely as it was fitting, from an individual who has overcome amazing adversity recently in his career to a city recovering from the tragic bombings at last year’s event. So it might seem out of place with the rest of this pointless piece, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to mention what is definitely my favorite sports story of the past year.
To viewpoint, exit “page left.”
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.