Cream of hardscrabble granola
As mentioned in the previous post, the judges viewed three submissions from each writer for the Opinion Writing category, before awarding prizes. Back in January when I submitted these, I felt that of the 25 of my letters published in
I had a similar quandary three years ago, when then, I found myself with four articles worthy of submission. The three I finally decided on were Testing Spirits around Hot Springs, Secret Lives of Meter Readers and Positively Googled Idaho. The one I cut that year was Support your Local Cab Driver.
The next year, 2006, I quit the Express midyear, but still had four creditable columns. The problem was that nobody bothered to mention that I was eligible to submit these as a freelancer. The four I would have chosen from were: Shedding Maple Syrup Tears, Golf course offers links to nature, The Midday Owl who withdrew from the bank and my last Express column, Ein Hemingway Bummel durch den Adams Gulch Too bad, because I felt that these columns were at least as good as the award-winning ones from 2005.
I did learn a year later at the Journal that as a freelancer, I could submit my Serenely Dipped Sockdolagers to the Idaho Press club, excellence in journalism judges. Dreaming of Fabled Homeland Security was a no-brainer, as I had been refining it since 2003 and felt confident in what it said from the get-go. I wanted to submit One Giant leap for Humankind, or starving punch drunk on the moon, but the editor had attached the full URL’s to my hyperlinks within the print version, which made the article difficult to read. I later learned that when you e-mail a hyperlink through Lee Enterprises corporate offices, they expand all hyperlinks in that manner. Therefore, instead of shooting for the moon, I submitted Selkie Swayed to Speak Hidden Truths. The third submission that year was my last WR Journal column Priceless Smiles over Diamonds. (Unfortunately, the WR Journal archives are dead, so I’ve linked the columns from my blog)
After Priceless Smiles ran in the Journal’s pre-Labor Day paper, I helped Daniella move to Port Townsend. While gone, fires raged in the valley, prompting evacuations and the cancellation of our big Wagon Days event. Meanwhile, Pedro the editor e-mailed me that this would be my last column and that they would be now be sticking with hard news. Which was completely opposite of what they told me they year before when Trey said they were looking for an alternative columnist.
Interestingly, the press broke down the next week and the circulation manager offered me double time to serve as carrier for one of the routes. 150 bucks for three hours work. I didn’t bite, because it was the principle of the thing. Much like what happened with the Express when I left there.
Now, that I’ve won a second excellence in journalism award, I wonder if the Journal would qualify that as “hard news” if they were still in business. Similarly, will the Express make any mention of this, since I worked there for nearly 13 years?
Besides the friends, I mentioned earlier, I would also like to thank the many friends and family who have offered solid support for my writing passion these recent years: Mom and Dad, Kim, Shelly, Daniella, Pam Parker, Melissa B., Dr. Jennifer Davidson at CSI, Betty Bell, Kathy C. Leslie Thompson, Deb Gelet, Jan Daniel's from EcoExpressions, M.E. Sibbach, O.O., Professor Tom Trusky, Dr. James W. Loewen, Tiss, 3V3T5 and family, Colt, Brad Nottingham, Tony Chace, Noah and Josh Bowen, Jim Dee, Willy Cook, James Mitchell, William Pattnosh, Tony Evans for leading our Idaho Conversation League writing club. My Internet pen pal and mentor of sorts, Rob MacGregor and the handful of friends who read the Greenvanholzer blog on a regular basis – you know who you are.
Footnote: After thinking about it for a few days, I remember that the third column I submitted as a freelancer for the Journal last year was actually Future Friedman: A Place for Healing War Wounds, which means the one I cut was actually Mermaid Swayed to Speak Hidden Truths.