Life in Half Tone
Posted on January 4, 2011 Posted by John Scalzi 24 Comments
My mother-in-law cleared out some drawers today and came across a couple of my old newspaper columns, which she sent home with Krissy. So I uploaded one of them so you could get a kick out of me with hair. This particular column is date June 11, 1995, so I would have been 26 in that picture. Such a clean-cut young man I was. You would hardly know that I would become the depraved monster I am today.
I did intentionally crop the column so you can’t really read it; it’s not that good. I do regret to say that while I did achieve one of my life’s goals — becoming a syndicated newspaper columnist — at the tender age of 25, at the time I was usually more clever than I was good. The “good” part would have to wait a couple more years, until I had spent a year being an editor taking apart other people’s writing to make it better, which gave me the perspective to look on my own writing and realize, yikes, not anywhere as good as I had assumed. That was an interesting ego day, I will tell you.
I do still look back on my time as a newspaper columnist with fondness, however. I have friends who are still print columnists, and I kinda envy them the gig. You can imagine yourself as part of a line that includes Molly Ivins and Mike Royko and H.L. Mencken and such. It’s not a bad club to feel a part of.
Oh, man, syndication! I imagine it smells like bacon… *sigh*
Say, didn’t there used to be a preview option here? I could be misremembering…
So was there really a realization day. I would’ve imagined it sort of creeps up on you and you live with it…
Dude, that is totally awesome. It is good to be able to look behind you with more pride than regret. And, I just have to say with a girlie squeal that you looked just so darned Cute!
Can you describe the epiphany for us? A thunderbolt or??
Wow. We certainly looked different when we were 26, didn’t we. Wow.
Huh, I guess we missed you by a couple of weeks – My wife and I were married May 27th, 1995 and we honeymooned in Puerto Vallarta. If I remember correctly, we stayed at a Sheraton resort, but it may have been a different all-inclusive one (and it’s probably been bought and sold a couple of times in the 15 years hence). Great place for a honeymoon! One of my favorite pictures of me and my wife was taken by our taxi driver at Los Arcos in the little plaza downtown. Hmmm… I had more hair back then, too…
Dude, a bachelor party at D-Land?
I would be tempted to add something snide to bolster my hipster cred, but in fact I think that would make a really fun party for all involved. And not too much of a hangover either!
I’m thinking you were kind of mature at 26. Either that or Krissy had already put The Fear of The Wife into you.
I am impressed. Seriously impressed.
So, what’s the difference between being a newspaper columnist and a blogger? Oh yes, the money. And the editor. And the cred.
About once a month or so, there is something in the paper or on the radio that makes me sigh or shake my head in a particular way that suddenly finds me missing Molly Ivins all over again. Being a Texan is less fun without her.
Wait! Wait, wait. Ministrations of the young, single, male…what? You did that on purpose. *pout*
Ah, Molly Ivins – one of the finest daughters my state has ever produced. With all the arrogant, pompous nonsense so-called “conservatives” are into these days, we could really use her about now :(
Clean-cut. Right. Seriously, what agency did you hire that model from? Or is that a stock photo?
That’s from the Bee, isn’t it? I seem to remember that photo. :)
Wow. You were young and not a depraved monster? It was that bad ego day you mentioned that did it, wasn’t it?
I think you might need some business cards made up.
“John Scalzi, Mr. Wedding Guy”
I started out in journalism, too, when I was very young. And while the old tear-sheets are an embarrassment to read, I learned greatly from the process of writing them.
Among other things, I learned to write to deadline, not to fear a blank page and to value not only the creative but also the economic worth of my writing. To Graham at #9: this is the biggest difference between blogging and journalism: being paid (and also having a professional edit your work on a regular basis.)
I can see the depraved monster lurking within.
(I’m at least a decade older than you and still have all my hair.)
What’s that dark stuff on your head? Oh right, that’s hair, bet you miss that, huh?
Sorry, I just had to do that. :p
Nice! Look at that handsome young man. very cool.
Look at how cute you were! Aww. (…she says, as if she isn’t isn’t still under 30 herself.)
#13 Dave H. : I was thinking that myself :-D
Molly Ivins was an unrepentant serial plagiarist and a disgrace to her (and my) profession. I flagged a couple of borrowings for the editorial writers’ list I’m on. (I thought her political views were execrable, too, but that’s beside the point, it’s not unethical to have foolish opinions, many of which are shared by our host.)
@Linda: She was accused of plagiarism precisely once, and it was in a book where she frequently cited the source she was quoting and then failed to cite in a couple of places. If you have other evidence, produce it, but don’t libel the dead because they held different political views than you and they were a thousand times better at expressing those views with humor and wit than you’ll ever be.