Searching for an Audience
Dear Political Diary,
Geez! A third of the month has past and this is the first diary entry I've begun. May's offerings were pretty paltry too. My longest running diary fan "Darlin" chided me yesterday for the growing infrequency of my entries but even she seems to have been on vacation. The notion that this is a diary is just a literary conceit. Its really my bid to find an audience but out on the Internet like it is its a bit like trolling for a fish. I get nibbles occasionally, even bites but its nothing of like seining for readers. I'd like whole netfuls. Fortunately I've had a net since February.
But it hasn't been the Internet! I got an offer to write a column every other week in a Duluth tabloid the Reader in January. I've banged out eight columns so far.
Last week I was inspired to offer up an extra column about the County Board's redistricting fiasco. My friend Joanne Fay, who I describe as my favorite county commissioner, told me she was about to sue the County Board over their plan. I took some of what she told me and did a few hours of research and submitted the column which the Reader obligingly added at the last minute.
Yesterday Joanne gave me a call. She was delighted by the article which was a big surprise to her. She had wandered into Bixby's today and had a number of people congratulated her on the story. I told her I was sorry that no one had sent in a contribution to help her with legal expenses yet but she told me she had already gotten a couple calls which together would take care of one hour of legal services. I asked her if her lawyer Butler did pro bono work. She allowed as how she hoped he did.
Early on I told the Reader that I'd probably talk about school issues and politics. However, I haven't written anything about school issues so far and although I have written about politics I've been reluctant to comment on my fellow local politicians because it just doesn't seem fair that I should be elevated to pass judgment on all the others. My next column in the Reader, in fact, is a reaction to the Reader's recent promotion of it. Advertising that I would dish dirt I used the occasion to dish dirt on myself instead.
There is some danger that revealing too many unflattering details about myself will hurt my chances to win further elections. I've been advised in the past not to keep mentioning my lost teaching jobs. Even Jim Heffernan, one of the Trib's editors, recommended that I quit telling people about it.
When I sent the column in the Reader sent me an email back giving me some grief about biting the hand that feeds me. (of course my pay has been purely in the form of attention) I apologized lamely and told them that I was just trying to write interesting copy.
My Dad had very little use for the Catholic church but he had a high regard for its tradition of confession.
George Holliday -
Grandmas Burma shave -