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The Three Samuels A Salute To My Readers

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The Three Samuels

A Salute To My Readers

by Samuel Warren

You the Reader. I would hope someday soon I would have the chance to shake your hand. I would like to be able to sit down at a table with a cold beer or a hot cup of coffee to drink, while we discuss the issues of life.

I’ve had one loyal reader right up until my middle age years, my mother, Opal M. Warren. She always read every paper and article I gave her. From Blytheville Air Force Base Arkansas, right up to the last article I wrote on active duty.

Momma the Reader

Periodically, I would save back issues of the base newspaper, put them in a padded envelope and send them to mom. I also wrote her fairly regularly long letters about my activities. She didn’t always agree with my opinions, but she always read my writing. Thank you, Mom.

Christy the Reader

My wife, Christy is my second loyal reader. “I’m wife Number Three. First, comes the newspaper and then, comes the U.S. Air Force,” she would always smile and tell friends. She is right. I sit down to write and the world vanishes around me. Thank you, baby.

You the Reader

My Third Loyal Reader is You. I hope you will send me your comments from time to time. Every writer likes hearing from readers, especially the complimentary comments.

Back in the day, on active duty, I and other military writers would often go head to head with our superiors whenever they just wanted to use our byline to put on a lame article. More often than not, the article would wind up published as an anonymous article without a byline.

The byline is your immortal literary sword: it cuts both ways. It glistens in the morning sunlight before the reader and draws them into your literary camp. The byline symbolizes credibility and integrity: the person who wrote the words beneath the byline spent a lot of time and effort to craft an informative and entertaining article. The byline proclaims this article is here, if you choose to read it.

Writers are human. Some of us like to hear back from readers. I have always loved those comments, “Hey, Sarge, I loved your article on…”

Mistakes and Praise

It was even nice to hear feedback about the articles that you made mistakes in. Those articles remind you to always be careful in note taking and always take the extra time to proofread the final copy before the article gets published.

While the articles with mistakes were a disappointment; the mistakes proved you were human and didn’t always catch misspelled names or wrong dates; they also served to prove that there were people out there in Newspaper Land that read your work on a regular basis. If the paper was out on the street by 8 am, Friday, then, by 8:30 am, the phone would be ringing with criticisms and comments from readers.

Sam the Newspaperman

I grew up on those Black and White Cary Grant movies where he played the wise-cracking crusading journalists, flirting with the ladies, and racing to Stop The Presses for his Page One story that was destined to hit the streets moments after the Deadline.

Of course, the Black and White TV show with George Reeves playing Clark Kent, the Daily Planet reporter, and Superman in his never ending battle to save the world, champion the cause of “Truth, Justice and the American Way,” and try to file a story with Perry White, his editor. “Great Cesar’s Ghost !”

Growing up in Missouri, Mark Twain is a name you become familiar with very quickly. Yeah, he had been a newspaperman before the became an author.

Walter Cronkite, “America’s Conscious” hosted the CBS Evening News for years, and he turned out to be a Missouri boy, who done good. Andy Rooney famous for his dry with and humor had been a World War II military newspaperman. Then, of course, you factor in novels by Ernest “Papa” Hemingway, who had been a newspaperman for the Kansas City Star and everywhere I turned there were those journalism influences calling out from the hills and every newspaper stand that you walked past.

I got my chance to do the “duffel bag drag” to the Defense Information School at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana and I told my mom my goal as a military newspaperman was basically to be “Walter Cronkite with epaulets.” (For the civilian readers, epaulets are those pieces of fabric that reach from the shoulder seam to almost under the shirt collar.)

I never passed up a chance to switch over to my Hemingway war correspondent mode and went on every temporary duty assignment that Uncle Sam tossed my way. Printer’s ink; not blood flowed through my veins. I even convinced my fiancee, Christy, that we should get married on a Friday around 9 a.m., because the “Philippine Flyer,” hit the streets around 8 am

A dedicated newspaperman like myself didn’t want to run the risk that a simple task like my wedding earlier in the week might mess up any of the newspaper copy deadlines. Tuesdays and Wednesdays were crunch days, I had stories to write, photos to shoot and calls to make. Thursdays were spent at the publishers’ pasting up the sticks of copy and writing headlines. I convinced my bride to “bump” the wedding to Friday.

A wife is a wife. But, a newspaper – that is a pillar of freedom, democracy and news. Besides, the best stories in life are the ones were the hero gets the girl in the end. Sam the Newspaperman received favorable comments on the paper – and he got the girl.

The Two Samuels

Now, here we are.

You the Reader and I, in cyberspace.

My challenge is to craft an article that you want to read. My technique I call the “Three Samuels.”

Samuel Number One – Samantha – :”Sam”

Samuel Number One is my genetic literary double, age 22, who progresses to age 25 over time before returning to age 22 to start the youthful aging process over. Samuel Number One always agrees with my every keystroke. Incidentally, to keep Samuel Number One interesting in the back of my mind’s eye: Her real name is Samantha. An overeager fictional dad named her Samuel and naturally, I call her, “Sam” for short. She is voluptuous and always ready to read my writing.

Samuel Number Two – “Rover”

Samuel Number Two is my literary dark side and mortal enemy, who only reads my writing to be able to negatively criticize it. Fictional Samuel Number Two is a wealthy, arrogant spoiled brat whose greedy is only exceeded by his stupidity. My nickname for this pseudo Sam is “Rover,” because if this fictional mental character likes the article that I’m writing, then, I stop and, “Write The Article Over” at another time.

The Third Samuel – You the Reader

My third reader is by far, the most important – You The Reader. You are the Third Samuel in my imagination. You have the luxury of looking in the mirror to see your reflection. You know what is going through your mind. I know you exist somewhere in Time and Space and you are reading my story.

Since the first storyteller put a symbol on a material for someone to read, we, writers have always ask,”How do we get a reader to read what we have written ?”

Only Write What You Believe In

I imagine the reader looking at the words on paper or a computer screen. Then, I simply take the words in my mind and type them on the electronic sheet of paper. My simple Number One Writing Commandment is: I Only Write About What I Believe In, regardless, of whether it is Fact or Fiction.

If your beliefs don’t come from your Writer’s Soul, then, why waste the time to write the words. I don’t write anything I don’t believe in.

It is nice to say, never write anything you don’t believe in; but, the challenge is to keep that oath and still collect a paycheck. A boss may respect your journalistic ethics and your beliefs, but the boss still has a two to four column inch hole that has to be filled before the paper goes to press.

You might get stuck trying to turn a lame idea you don’t believe in into a story. Write the story and then suggest the story get run past the newspaper’s lawyers. In my experience, lawyers poke, prod and pick away at a story like buzzards at a buffet. Go ahead and pick up the telephone and call the funeral home: that story is dead.

As far as the hole goes, that is why God created clip art. Put a nice graphic in the hole and chances are it will look like the page was designed that way or you can always get a nice photo from one of your photographer buddies to fill the hole. Or, get real creative – leave the hole and if anyone asks, smile and reply, “Creative Use Of White Space.

Thank You for Reading

My mother taught me to say, “Please,” and “Thank You.” The military taught me the importance of “Always Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due. I do appreciate my readers. I appreciate that you took the time to read my words.

You the Reader, I would love to be able to shake your hand and say, “Thank you for taking the time to read my work.” I would love to chat with you about one of my articles over a beer or a cup of coffee. If, however, we never do get the opportunity to meet: “Please, know that I do appreciate you taking the time to read my work. Thank You.”

Sam

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Written by samwarren55

January 19, 2010 at 4:42 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Hello,
    Arrived here via Modfi.com.

    Interesting to read about you – and indeed your readers.

    Good luck,
    Mike.

    67 Not Out (Mike Perry)

    January 24, 2010 at 4:27 PM


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