Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sweet Bear Hugs

In some sunnier news, the Idaho Statesman recently published my second Reader’s View opinion piece. Funny synchronicity too, the evening this went to press, I encountered two thick-furred black bear cubs that jutted out in front of my truck on Broadford Road.

My first Reader’s View in the Statesman ran last summer. That one was about how the safety benefits of a cell tower at Galena, far outweigh its appearance.

A Reader’s View is different from a letter to the editor, in the sense that you get to complain longer. Usually for about 600 words or so. I think if you blather on much longer than that, then the reader’s interest quickly wanes. Thus, the popularity of so many stories of that size, on the web.

A friend offered some valuable feedback, which I think will fit better in the comments section, so I will post his feedback there. As well as this piece seemed to come out, I think I can improve it more, and then perhaps submit to High Country News or some such place. I try to be careful about promising that I’m ‘gunna’ do such a thing; because then it seems to take power away from the effort, almost as if you’ve tricked yourself into believing that you’ve already done it, just because you said you were going to do it. Ran Prier recently linked into an in depth story about this phenomena, which I believe ran on an anthropology website. I searched for it again recently, but could not find. Now, I feel I’m gunna have difficulty finding it again.

During the rewriting process, most dedicated writers have probably experienced a certain flow, which makes them feels as though they are getting closer to the goal of what they really mean to say. I remember trying to convey this to the poet and purple mermaid expert Darcie Chace; how sometimes poets and singers have pieces that shift form and how it’s possible to enjoy this merry rewriting process.


C.J. said...

Very nice piece, Jim. Well-written, touching, and clearly heartfelt.

As writers, though, I know you would be disappointed if we did not have a technical dialog.

And so we shall... :-)

I would not have used the phrase "widely abundant", I would have said simply "abundant" or maybe "widely available"....perhaps "ubiquitous", if I were feeling particularly loquacious, but in a piece like this, "plain talk" is probably best.

I thought you did a good job of starting with a story about the people, then going through some of the amenities in Ketchum, then bringing it back to the people with the story of the tradesman's tools.

That is subtle, but I might have tried a more direct addition after the tradesman story, saying something along the lines of....good people make a community, and the spirit of the community is what should define a town....blah get what I mean anyway. Hit em over the head with it a little.

Since the piece is somewhat about those who denigrate Ketchum, a subtlety about that direct approach is that you would be putting those who denigrate the town on the opposite side of "good people make a community"...which allows you to take a shot back at them without taking a shot at them, thus you retain the high ground. "Guilt by implication" if you will, rather than getting your hands dirty.

I'm from a political town.

Very nice work, Jim.


JBanholzer said...

I should probably also revise the part, where I said that "Ketchum has the largest nonmotorized parade in North America" into "Ketchum has the largest nonmotorized parade in the West" since the first claim has been challenged by a Southern town somewhere.

Technically, I should say "The largest non-motorized parade in the Pacific Northwest" but hey, I cheat a little.