Another Lame do-It-Yourself Project

Nov 6, 2017 | 0 comments

Stories from the Heart

When I was in high school, deep into journalism classes and the writing/ publication of The Red and White (San Rafael High School’s weekly newspaper), I was counseled to keep a clipping book.  In it I carefully pasted all of the articles and editorials I wrote, also keeping track of my ‘column inches’ – training, I supposed for the eventuality of a real job on a legitimate newspaper.

That was in the ’50s.  Twenty-some years later, when I moved to Oysterville, my life had taken another turn entirely and news clippings had long since dropped from my radar.  It wasn’t until my Uncle Willard was sharing some news article about a recent book tour that the words “news clipping” entered my consciousness again.

These clippings, though, were articles about Willard not by him.  And he didn’t have to search for them and clip them out, himself.  He received them in packets from a media clipping service.  I’m not sure if that perk was paid for by his publisher or if Willard subscribed, himself.  Most of those clippings are in the Willard Espy Archive at the Washington State History Research Center now, though occasionally I run across one here in the house, tucked into a book or in an overlooked file folder.

From Willard’s Clipping Service

Nowadays, what with all the technology at their fingertips, I imagine media services have proliferated.  I’ve never looked into one, not being an author/celebrity as Willard was, but occasionally a friend will see something in a Seattle or Olympia paper that mentions my name and will send it to me which I appreciate very much.

But I, myself, am back to clipping news articles from our local paper.  Not about me, but by me.  I paste them in my ongoing scrapbooks because… honestly, I’m not sure why.  Old habits die hard?  Do I think posterity will be interested?  Surely, it’s not because I have nothing better to do?

Yesterday, I clipped out the fourteen “Stories from the Heart” that I recently wrote for the Observer.  I also clipped out all the Letters to the Editor, pro and (mostly) con) that those articles generated.  I’m grateful that during the months that those stories appeared in the paper, many friends, as well as strangers, stopped me in person – at Vespers, in Jack’s, at Adelaide’s, even on the street in Oysterville – to express concern and interest in the problems of our Hispanic neighbors.  Otherwise, my clipping experience yesterday would have been very much more difficult.

Letters to the Editor

Who are those very negative letter-writers, anyway?   No recognizable names, at least to me.  They dredge up the same, tired mis-information.  I wish they had really read the stories and the sidebars that had accompanied them and done a bit of honest research, themselves.  But, as I know from my 39 years in the classroom – teaching people to read is one thing; teaching them to think is another.  And speaking of thinking… I think it’s time to stop all this clipping and re-reading.


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