Tuesday, September 27, 2011

doubling, tripling back

"Writing, I think, is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living. The writer experiences everything twice. Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind." ~Catherine Drinker Bowen, Atlantic, December 1957

I had a friend once say she was jealous of my job because at the end of every day, I could see tangible evidence of my work in the form of a news story.

The truth is that there is sometimes little time to celebrate the printed one, because our minds are already on the next story and the next one and the next one.

It's a revolving, looping door and within one day, I go through many loops and double back many times.

It starts with an idea and then the idea is developed into a concept and the concept is nurtured into a story. The story is written, and we double back to the idea. Sometimes the idea is modified. Sometimes the story is modified to comply with the idea. And it's repeated until they align. Sometimes the process is accelerated (daily deadlines), sometimes the process is matured. Sometimes the process is whipping along at such speeds that all you can do is hold on.

This happens every day for every person in the newsroom and for nearly each looping, doubling back, there I am.

It's casting a line, waiting, drawing it back in. Casting, waiting, drawing. Looping and doubling back.

There are bigger loops too that are in my head. Front page today, front page tomorrow, front page Sunday. Inside section centerpiece today, tomorrow, the next day. What's going out front Monday? Tuesday of next week?

I have to cast my line further than the day under my nose, but still come back to today to the smaller loops rotating in my bigger one.

It's a challenge, living in the moment my readers are in, but planning days ahead of them.

Is today Wednesday? No, it's Tuesday, but it's Wednesday's paper I have in my head so I come back to Tuesday, but I can already tell you what's on Thursday's front page. When I get better at this, I'll be able to tell you what's on next Thursday's front page.

The loops and doubling back make time race by in increments of moments, hours, days, weeks.

Is it Sept. 18 already? Yes, because the water conservation package we've been planning for two weeks is running.

It is a kind of double living, this casting the line, waiting, drawing it in.

Then I lay in bed awake at night and think of all the things I haven't had time to think about during the day.

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