By Bruce Apar
What follows is the column that most columnists ultimately write: their last. In my case, though it is my swan song for PennySaver, I still can be found elsewhere in print and online, if you, dear reader, are so inclined.
Along the way, it’s been quite a ride, for more than a decade. I came aboard in 2006 at groundbreaking Chase Media Group, owner of PennySaver, as publisher of the company’s weekly newspaper called North County News (NCN). Since then, the newspaper business has changed just a tad (ahem!).
Between the weekly column I wrote for NCN, and then for PennySaver, this has to be somewhere north of my 500th column for Chase Media Group. And, boy, are my fingers tired! Actually, not. From head to toe, I never tire of pushing words together to make some sense of this crazy world and my even crazier mind.
Unlike novelists or poets or playwrights, or other types of navel-gazing wordsmiths, journalists rarely, if ever, are prone to writer’s block. We deal with the real world, where there’s never a dull moment, nor a lack of inspiration, for better or worse. For example, I started writing this column without knowing what I would write about, and we’re already almost halfway through.
A bracing dose of writer’s block every once in a while might actually serve me well. My ailment always has been not knowing when to stop. Give me an inch of space to fill, and I’ll give you a yard of copy to print. That’s not always such a good thing, for it’s a cardinal sin in my trade to overstay your welcome, or to force the printer to use type too small for aging eyes like mine.
Another cardinal sin is to use heavy-handed words that drive a reader to distraction, or to the dictionary. I used to be particularly guilty of overwriting like that when I was a callow college student at Syracuse University and wrote for the campus paper, The Daily Orange.
When I go back to read some of those beauts, I wince at my clumsy syntax, just like my fellow students undoubtedly winced when they read that self-indulgent claptrap.
Speaking of self-indulgence, before I go, I must thank a very special few who stuck with me, and have gotten me this far, as a proud alumnus of, and contributor to, Chase Media Group. Though you will not know exactly who I am referring to, what matters is that the following people will know: Carla, Frank, Dave, Lisa, Diana, Cat, Tania, Dennis, Christina, Scott, Gary, Al, Connie, Jim & Jim, Laura, Sharon, Cindy, Claire, Tom, Mabel, Lynne, Elfriede, Florence, Valerie, Carol, Randy, Trish, Rachael, Csaba.
You may be wondering what the headline of my last column signifies. The number “30” is journalistic shorthand placed at the bottom of a writer’s raw copy to indicate to editors that “the article ends here.” But the beat goes on…
Bruce Apar is Chief Content Officer of Google Partner Agency, Pinpoint Marketing & Design, as well as an actor and a regular contributor to several periodicals. Follow him as Bruce The Blog on social media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (914) 275-6887.