“Sometimes I wonder if I'm the person I was born to be, if the life I've lived really is the one I was meant to, or if it is some half life, a mutation engineered by loss, cobbled together by the will to survive."
Anderson Cooper, journalist
All day I have been thinking about my life’s occupation. Lately I have been wanting to be a reporter/writer, again. Sunday morning, I read the LATimes book review about William Vollmann and his latest book “riding “Toward Everywhere," which is an account of his adventure as a slumming hobo.” I had a week’s vacation planned when I was in my early twenties to jump trains with the managing editor of the local newspaper where I worked. We never did it. I don’t recall why, but I am truly sorry we didn't. The reviewer called Vollmann an intrepid cultural interpreter. Also, yesterday morning in the NYTimes was an article on Jimmy Breslin. It talked about his style of reporting and it named many of peers who are now dead such as Norman Mailer, Murray Kempton, George Plimpton, and Arthur Schlesinger. Saturday’s Wall Street Journal featured an opinion piece on Fredric U. Dicker, state editor for the New York Post, who doesn’t let politicians get away with their usual lies and half truths. Finally, I started reading Anderson Cooper’s “Dispatches from the Edge.”
In some respects Toner Mishap is my opinion page outlet for not following my heart, but my wallet, not that I am doing so great, but my career choices have been slightly more lucrative than being a local reporter somewhere. I still have a fantasy of working for some local newspaper in my golden years. I suspect I have too much of an independent, contrarian, cynical streak to appeal to a local readership, so you're stuck with me.
Tuesday I go to court regarding the posts about my experiences as a juror, so even blogging I get into anxiety causing situations. Writing can be a dangerous and costly occupation, if you offend someone. Breslin was beat up badly by a mafia member of the Lucchese family. On The Mark called me early at the office the other morning and highly recommended that I take down the post that wrote, which was just a quote, but he thought I was asking for trouble. I removed the post. I will use the quote again shortly I have no doubt. I have deleted another post a few months ago that had to do with the CEO of a once major mortgage company, after the newspapers reported that he collected millions of dollars in bonuses and stocks, but the company was going to lay off thousands of employees, I asked how could he sleep at night.
There is certainly a chilling effect on writing if you are not careful. For my own good, I think I will just stick to Toner Mishap and attempt not to aggravate the powerful and litigation minded, as best I can.