"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Clippings

Sundays are New York Times days, sitting on back patio with the Sunday Times, coffee, a journal, listening to the chickadees and titmice and cardinals in the sanctuary of our back yard. Bright sun through dappled leaves. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, plus oregano and mint and more coming for from under the mulch after winter. Time to reflect on passing time, thumbing through pages of newsprint, finding ideas, stories, lives, words, words that matter.
First the main news section and then the Week in Review, then business, styles, arts, travel....travel to the land of thinking.
Reading, thinking makes you want to to write, to paint, to create. Tomorrow, or in a few days (there is something comfortable in seeing scattered stack of newspapers on the couch or chair), most of the newsprint will go into the trash, except for the saved stories, for the chess column. Sure they're online, but that's not the same.
"Clippings" is such a wonderful word. Headlines and news items and feature stories and photographs and names, carefully torn or snipped from the pages, for one reason or another, and put into a special place..
I think all journalists have a sloppy clipping file...of story ideas, of special sentences, or words that matter. Of things you wish you'd written, or want to write someday.
It's not the same as storing an idea in a folder on a computer. In the first place, most journalists have no use for folders...we use stacks, of notes, of phone numbers, of papers, of the scrambled eggs of daily life...and they pile up on our desk or beside the bed. No matter that we may never get to them again, or have to clear them out after a few months. Some go into envelopes or stacks in the bottoms of cluttered drawers. There's a comfort, a kinship, a sense of belonging with clippings. When you come back across them, even if they've yellowed and turned brittle, or torn, they're fresh memories of certain people and events and lives and ideas...
like favorite books read again, or old friends met again after a long time...they're not acquisitions, but part of my who I am, like old photos, and personal cards. Like memories, but tangible, real.

Ursa th' pr'fessa

1 comment:

  1. Exactly how I felt when I found Mr. Illidge's letter.

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