Even as a cub reporter, I loved writing long pieces. It’s what I prefer to read, really read, when I have time. By long, I don’t mean pointless minutia or the trivia of, say, a public hearing, but rather the probing look at how and why a thing has happened and maybe even what to expect as a consequence. Add to that the human dimension, especially from the point of view of those most impacted by the action rather than those at the top of the pyramid.
One model of this style of news writing came in the three stories on the front page of the Wall Street Journal each day – what they called their “leaders,” back in the era before Murdoch. If you looked closely, you’d see how each one was composed of several smaller stories, each one telescoping into the next. The reporters could joke that their work was so heavily edited they no longer recognized the finished version, but for those of us reading, the result was rewarding, the way a good meal is.
As a journalist, the irony has been that I spent much of my career crafting headlines and photo captions … short, short, short … and that was even before I relied more and more on news briefing columns to get the day’s world and nation reports into the paper at all.
Not that I lost my love of long writing. My “shelf” of ebook novels is proof of that, including my most recent, which delves into the news business itself.
As a blogger, though, I’m also admitting pleasure in composing shorter postings like the ones that appear here at Jnana’s Red Barn. Apparently, from the stats, they must be connecting.
My other four blogs provide venues for the longer writing, and the results to date are mixed.
To my surprise, my genealogy blog, The Orphan George Chronicles, has drawn far more hits than I’d anticipated. I figured its appeal would be to a few dozen fellow researchers, and having the results online would be much easier to find than if the files were archived in a few libraries somewhere. As for publishing them in paper editions, the likely audience would never cover the expenses.
My Quaker blog, As Light Is Sown, has shifted from the two book-length presentations that appear as the initial postings to a year-long Daybook of short postings, so I must admit that trying to analyze the results there can be inconclusive.
Thistle/Flinch exists to present book-length PDF editions of poetry and fiction, so I guess you can say that’s writing long.
And the remaining blog, Chicken Farmer I Still Love You, is still taking shape, as the numbers show. The first part, Talking Money, presents essential material for addressing the material sides of life … income, spending, wealth, possessions, labor, time, goals, and the like … followed by a close look at New England’s famed foliage. These days, it’s taken on a new focus in reconsidering the hippie outbreak and its renewal. Again, many of its postings are chapters for book-length presentation.
What I am finding in general is that even without the demands of daily employment, time is still the most precious commodity in my life. There just ain’t enough of it for what I hope to accomplish these days – including reading or writing, much less in any length.
So I guess that’s the short of it, for now.
To find out more about Hometown News or to obtain your own copy, go to my page at Smashwords.com.