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The Writer’s Curse

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The Writer’s Curse

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been writing. Even in grade school, I would jot down notes on paper to remind me to check on something later. I’m retired now, but, I still write. It is what I do.

I write something almost everyday.

When I like it, I publish the article to my blog, the Sam I Am Blog on wordpress.com. Sometimes though, I might go a few days before I publish an article to my blog because I go back and rewrite some sentences and rethink the overall article I have written.

Do I suffer from The Writer’s Curse ?

My Crystal Ball - In the 1970s, astrology, psychics, tarot cards, took off with the New Age Movement. The Supernatural became the Paranormal. People quit whispering about their "ghost stories" to family members and started talking about them in public. The rationale and logical world of grandparents and parents suddenly had an element of not everything in life is so logical and certain. For a curious young military journalist, it was an exciting time to be chasing stories. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Perhaps, I ran afoul of a Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. I was in New Orleans, one weekend in the 1980s. I got drunk and staggered around Bourbon Street like a lot of people have through the years. But, if I would of met an exotic woman of reputed supernatural powers, I would of tried to interview her for a story.

My Camera Bag Tarot Deck - In the 1980s, in the Republic of the Philippines, Professor Carding, a local man in Angeles City, gave me one fo the most specific and accurate "Tarot Card Readings" that pretty much happened as he predicted. The uniqueness of his reading is he used a common 52 card deck of playing cards. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Of course, in the 1980s, I was a young man with “an eye for the ladies,” so I would of obviously “hit on” an exotic woman with a mysterious air of intrigue. If the woman would of given me the “cold shoulder “ to my romantic advances, then, obviously, my reporter side would of kicked in.

A reporter is always looking for a story.

I’ve always been interested in the supernatural, so I would not of passed up the opportunity to interview a modern day Marie Laveaux.

I doubt I was cursed by a gypsy fortune teller. I’ve never met a gypsy – that I know of.

My Crystal Ball - Perhaps, I am not psychic enough for me to "see" images from the future, but some of the images of the present can be pleasing. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

If I did meet a gypsy fortune teller, I’d ask her to teach me how to see images in my crystal ball. And, I’d ask why I don’t see things in the Tarot cards that some Tarot readers do. Then, I’d take my pack of Tarot cards from my camera bag and smile, “I’m from Missouri, please, show me.”

I carry a tarot deck in my camera bag because it is a source of inspiration and imagination to me. Perhaps, someday I may learn to "read" the deck. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Nonetheless, I soldier on and write. Today, my blog on the Internet is the source of my literary masterpieces, which are editorials, memoirs, personal observations and short stories.

I like to write. I’m still naïve enough to believe that words do make a difference. In 2011, America is obvious a visual culture that relies on images, but, words still have magic.

Samuel E. Warren Jr., The Writer hopes to inform, entertain and hopefully to challenge the reader to think about issues, history and the direction of his or her own life.

Crush On The English Teacher

In Galena High School, I had a crush on Miss Broyles, the lovely, young, slender brunette, who taught English. She was beginning her teaching career and wore V-neck sweaters and skirts that rode up when she turned her back to write on the chalkboard. I was a young teenage boy, who sat on the front row. That year is probably the first and only time I have truly been interested in English.

Grade school teachers taught me to “diagram a sentence.” Although today, in 2011, I would not know where to begin.

Back in the 1960s, theoretically it was an important English technique to diagram a sentence. I’ve written for newspapers more than 20 years and never diagrammed a sentence.

I happily violate the rules of grammar and punctuation.

United States Air Force Staff Sergeant Judy Bivens, my first military editor and an editor of the “Barksdale Observer” told me, “First, you have to learn the rules of English grammar and punctuation before you can break them.”

She was right. I learned the rules.

At the Defense Information School, it was standard operating procedure that we, “print journalists” would learn the Old Testament Of Military Journalism and that was the “gospel” of Strunk and White ( two guys who wrote a text on punctuation and grammar that reporters use).

All I remember, now, is these two guys were extremely “nit and noy” about the English language.

My Associated Press Stylebook from the 1980s - In the 1980s, at the Defense Information School at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, "The AP Stylebook" was the first and last word in how a "military print journalist" used details in news and feature stories for newspapers. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

The Second Book Of Holy Writ Of Military Journalism was either memorized or you were never caught without your copy of The Associated Press Stylebook, which was the official scripture of format, reference and style of how to write news to get published or aired.

Literary License

The major reason to learn the rules, is so when you break them, you can make a compelling argument for throwing away the stupid rule and writing your own way.

Once you learned all the holy writ associated with journalism, then, you at least had a “literary license” that a military editor might let you use on some occasions

In 2011, I write as I please.

Usually, I write the way I talk.

My Grammar Technique

I never use a comma before the word: Jr.

The Associated Stylebook back in the 1980s demanded that a comma went before the word: Jr. The official explanation was that junior was a title and not a name.

Horsefeathers !

The Gods of Grammar overlooked the most important thing of all – Junior is a name. While it may mean that someone else came before that is no reason to slam a stupid comma in front of a name and make it appear as though the last name is some kind of silly after thought. Perhaps, the Omnipotent Gods of Grammar were unaware, but in Colonial America, even some women had “Junior” as a name.

Comma Coma

In my lifetime, English teachers and military editors always seemed to have this weird fetish about commas. English teachers acted like commas where a natural resource and had to be used as though you were working with gold dust and at any moment the universal shortage of commas would spell the end of humankind.

Military editors always treated commas as though they were tiny communists hiding in stories waiting to sabotage the readers. I would get stories back from editors for a rewrite and their red pencil marks would still be hemorrhaging on my copy. Perhaps, I used too many commas.

I even went through a period where I tried to write stories using almost no commas at all. Comma comatose is not a fun situation to be in. Commas are like old friends, you never realize how much you miss the little guys until they are not around. Sometimes you need commas to set off a section of a sentence or highlight a series of words.

I endured the Comma Comments. Perhaps, I was in a Comma Coma because I didn’t always see where these tiny punctuation devices where hiding in my copy waiting to spring from the page and overthrow the United States Government.

In 2011, I don’t worry about commas. I probably still overuse or misuse commas. But, I like the little guys and I’m sure they realize that I like having them in my stories.

If there is a series of items in a sentence then I use commas. Sometimes to set off phrases, I use commas.

Capitalizing On Words

I sometimes capitalize words to bring attention to the word or phrase. I use hyphens for dramatic effect – to set off a group of words and to draw attention to them.

I never hyphenate last names.

In the 1970s and 1980s it became common for women to use their mother’s maiden name and their father’s name. I believe it is a wonderful idea. I believe it is stupid to hyphenate between the two last names because the hyphen slows the flow of the eye over the text for know valid reason.

Whenever I write about my mother, Opal M. DeLong Warren, I never put a hyphen between the two last names because although she was a Warren, she was also a DeLong. In my mother’s case, many of her friends always referred to her as Opal M. DeLong. She always signed official papers, Opal M. Warren, of course, but she was always an independent minded woman by whatever last name you chose to call her.

Slash The Slash

I seldom if ever use the slash in my writing.

The slash mark is too disruptive to the eye, in my opinion. When it comes to Prisoner Of War or Missing In Action articles the style is to use the slash between the two sets of initials. I avoid the issue by spelling out the words.

Whenever I see a slash mark in a article, in my mind, I see the front half of a Volkswagen Beetle welded on to the front of a hog nose semi tractor trailer. I get the image in my mind, because to me, the slash has always seemed more of an accident or contrived creation, instead of serving any real purpose to speed up communication or enhance understanding.

Language Lives !

The purpose of any language is communication.

English has always been successful because it grows and expands. English absorbs words from other languages and makes them English words.

A language that doesn’t grow or expands dies. Latin is a dead language.

Latin is sometimes used by one major religion and usually found on certificates and military patches. English changes and in time, even the writing style might change.

Future authors might write stories full of words like LOL, OMG, and IMHO (Laugh Out Loud, Oh My God and In My Humble Opinion) Thanks to texting and cell phones the future of English writing will probably change.

Name Game

Americans suffer from “Lazy Tongue.” If you ever notice, Americans seem to be hardwired to shorten or abbreviate words and names. If your name is Samuel, then, people will want to call you Sam.

Some people just assume they can call you by whatever version of your name that they like. Before the 1970s, people had this “alien gift” called courtesy.

Before the 1970s, people would ask, “Your name is Samuel, may I call you. . .”

It is polite to ask people if you can shorten or abbreviate their name.

I never answer to “Sammy” or “Sammie” because, regardless of the spelling, the word is usually associated with a girl’s name.

Anyone who gets cute and calls me, “Sambo,” gets the “middle finger salute” and I walk away. Sambo is a derogatory term that belongs to history.

Names are important.

The name Samuel comes from the ancient Hebrew and means “Asked Of God.” In my family, the name, Samuel, passed from my grandfather, Joseph Samuel, to my father and then to me. That’s three generations of Samuel, so the name has meaning and tradition.

One Mother’s Day, I gave Momma Warren, my grandmother, a card signed, “First Samuel, Second Samuel and Third Samuel.” Papa Warren, the first Samuel laughed. My dad, the second Samuel smiled and I, the third Samuel, was just happy that Momma Warren smiled so broadly over the card and my creative signature.

The point is that the name, Samuel, meant the world to me as a child. I’m still proud of the name, “Samuel,” and hope I have done it justice.

Parents play the age old game of trying to pick the right name for their children, whether the name comes from their family or months of studying over baby books, no one should ever just assume you can call a stranger by whatever name your Lazy Tongue wraps on to.

Americans Love Abbreviations

Perhaps, American’s love for abbreviations did begin, during the Administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal era. But, when did we begin to shorten names?

In the old days of journalism, back when we still used typewriters and white out, there was only two abbreviations that did not have to be spelled out and they were FBI and CIA because they were considered so common that all Americans would recognize the initials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Paragraph Paradox

I write like a journalist and not like an English student.

English teachers taught me to write paragraphs with a lead sentence and then numerous sentences to back it up. The only bad thing about this advice is sentences in a paragraph are like weeds – they grow. Eventually, several sentences in a paragraph gives you a large block of type that makes your eyes tired just looking at the paragraph. You stare at a concrete block of text.

Term papers are excellent examples of long blocks of text dictated by centuries of procedural tradition. People might read the term papers at some point.

Then, of course, there are legal documents. Whereas and heretofore – what do those terms mean ? Only God knows. Why do lawyers write ? Think about legal documents; does anyone other than lawyers ever read the documents ? Blocks of gray text and the professional pig Latin of legal language invites boredom and sleep. Perhaps, the secret is the documents are so boring you are suppose to hire another lawyer or paralegal to translate the bureaucratic gibberish back into some sort of comprehensible English.

In journalism, I was taught to write short sentences. And, not to put more than a couple of sentences in a paragraph. You have to “tempt not tire the eye” to read a story.

Journalists are notorious for busting up paragraphs. Because a story should look to a potential reader like a fire engine red Ferrari and not a beat up Model A Ford in a junk yard.

Sex appeal? To give a story sex appeal, you put the words in a bikini, which means short paragraphs.

Writers write to inform and entertain.

Tricks Of The Trade

Newspaper reporters know people skim or scan over articles. Well written words are like a sexy woman in a short red dress – they hold your interest and make it impossible for you to look away.

The Short Red Dress – Line Art

The trick of any writer is to find that short red dress or that slinky black shiny catsuit or evening dress that is going to lead the reader by the eyeball into your story. Even before the invention of the camera, film and photography, editors knew they needed line art and clip art to draw the reader into the newspaper. Old newspapers hired artists to work as illustrators to create line art or clip art to add to articles.

Old newspapers did layouts that used narrow columns of type and a patchwork of articles that began on one page and jumped to another.

The “Jump to Page X” continuation line not only allowed editors to place ads in a certain place on the page, but caused the reader to turn the page to finish the story. In the process, they might be attracted to another story. The one tactic I never understood is when a newspaper used the jump to continuation line that had you jumping backward to another page in the newspaper.

Headline Hell

As a young military journalist, one of my duties on “Newspaper Day,” the day that we actually went to the publisher to make sure the sticks of copy were laid out correctly on the newspaper dummies was to write headlines on the typesetting machine.

There were tons of rules about writing headlines.

You only had a few words in a small space to sum up a story and grab the reader’s attention. The side of the newspaper column and the point size of the letters meant you really had your “word work” cut out for you. And usually you were supposed to write out the words on paper and count them so as not to waste film. The headlines typed in the machine were actually printed on strips of white photographing film. Once the film came out of the machine, you would give it to one of the publisher’s staff who would then take it into the darkroom to develop. Misspelled words always got you a short lecture on the cost of photographic headline film.

Writing headlines really burned brain cells. You had to choose words that captured the essence of the story and fit in the space. Punctuation was critical. The comma was understood to mean the word, “and,” so that you didn’t waste space for three letters on a common word. Plus, headlines were critical in the sense that if your newspaper wanted to compete in the annual newspaper awards, you have to be sure the size, type and style were correct as well as the spelling.

You also knew in the back of your mind that their were people higher up the chain of command who would scrutinize yr headlines for meaning, clarity and to make sure that you fit into the overall guidelines.

I loved the challenge of writing headlines. Good headlines were like good stories, they got you noticed in a favorable light not just on base, but up the chain of command. Unfortunately, bad headlines had the same effect, but the negative comments always seemed to find you faster if you blew it on a headline.

Tombstone Headlines

Headlines were not to be Tombstones.

If the eye read a headline and continued across the page to a headline beside it – the result was the reader would be confused. Two articles side by side with headlines side by side did look like literary tombstones, thus, the name: tombstone headlines.

One of the real dangers was the first line of both headlines would either make for nonsense or keep the eye from dropping down to read a second part of the first headline.

On rare occasions, the two headlines side by side might suggest something vulgar.

Send Out For Sandwiches

A sandwich should give your eyes a chance to feast on a juicy morsel of the story. Once your curiosity thirsts for the facts, then, you can only satisfy your hunger for the details by reading the story.

_____________________________________________

One nice technique of writing a story was using “sandwiches” and sub heads to break up the text. If the text is broken up by pleasing graphics then the text never looks like intimidating blocks of text.

Sandwiches is an eye candy technique that magazines and newspapers use to highlight a quote or interesting statistic from the text and then place it in a larger and different type face at some place in the copy before the actual quote.

Usually some type of straight or dotted line would be used above or below the quote, so that it could be “sandwiched” into the text to help break up the story. A sandwich should give your eyes a chance to feast on a juicy morsel of the story. Once your curiosity thirsts for the facts, then, you can only satisfying your hunger for the details by reading the story.

Sexy Sub Heads

Secondary or smaller headlines were also instrumental in making copy appear more attractive to the skimming and scanning eyes of the reader. Sub heads are like adding rouge and eye liner to a story because these small words were, in essence, the proverbial gloved hand that reaches out and crooks a finger at you to beckon you to follow. If the writer has done his job, then, the words wink at you and you can’t help but, at least, glance at some of the words beneath the headline.

Sub headlines in an article are an eye candy device like high heels, hose and fingernail polish for an article. Whether it is the arrangement of words or an obvious play on words, sub heads should cause a reader to pause for a moment and say, “Wait a minute, I have to check this out.”

A Newspaper Editor Must Have A Dirty Mind

A Newspaper Editor Must Have A Dirty Mind is a comment that always drew snickers from people. Alas, it wasn’t just a slogan or motto; it was a statement that was meant to remind military newspaper editors and staffers to take care in proofreading headlines, copy and give photos the final once over before the presses rolled.

When you wrote a headline you had to make sure words were spelled correctly and that there were no misspelled words, especially none that would suggest anything vulgar or offensive.

It only took one mistake to learn the value of that statement and to remind you to always pay careful attention to the final proofreading of the copy from the date and page numbers at the top of the page down to the last period on the final page.

Photo Fallout !

The editor really had to watch for offensive words and gestures in stories and, especially in photos. Once a photo of an Air Force pilot in the cockpit doing a pref light check got passed all of us putting the newspaper together.

Friday morning when the newspaper came out, our phones started ringing off the desk, Some people called to make fun of us. Some people called to express concern on how such an obvious gesture had got passed us.

Unfortunately, higher headquarters was also sensitive about the photo and when Strategic Air Command headquarters got their copy on Monday morning, they reacted and we got their feedback that rushed down the chain of command back to the newspaper staff.

The pilot had sat in the seat. He reach up over head to flip a switch above him. In the photo, the pilot had extended his “middle finger” to flip the switch. While it was a natural gesture, everyone in the United States Armed Forces, and apparently the civilized world, had read a meaning into the photo that was never intended.

Thus, the smart Newspaper Editor Always Has A Dirty Mind And Eagle Eyes.

Hindsight – History In The Rear View Mirror

The tricks of the trade that I learned and used as a newspaper reporter and editor, I now use in my blog to try and attract and entertain readers. While the eye candy devices might cause people to pause and look at the photos, line art and sub heads, it is still up to the writer to craft a story that will invite the reader to stroll alongside the writer and make the journey to the end.

I write because I like to.

I try to give the reader something to think about.

I usually write out of passion.

Some idea sticks in my mind and I mull it over awhile before I sit down and start typing.

There is one benefit of age: hindsight. Hindsight is simply History In The Rear View Mirror. Parents and grandparents can look back in their lives and wonder, “Why didn’t anyone see it coming?”

Humanity wants Foresight. We want to know the bad things in life are headed our way, so that we can hunker down and ride out the storm. Yet, generation after generation, people rely on their human nature and we make mistakes.

When I was a young student headed off to college, I believed Candidate Richard Milhous Nixon might win in 1972.

As a senior citizen, I can shake my head and tell younger people what life was like in the 1970s when old “Tricky Dick” Nixon was president and how he proved he was “Above The Law,” which meant that he would not go to jail for Watergate.

A term like “Executive Privilege” was just a legal smoke screen that came down to a “plea bargain,” which allowed a politician to leech a United States Government pension off the American taxpayer for years and be protected by an elite security detail – the United States Secret Service – for the rest of his miserable life. Who says, “Crime Doesn’t Pay ?”

Window Of The Past

Perhaps, in the Grand Scheme Of The Universe my writing won’t make a big difference. But, I hope it will always be Window Of The Past left open to students looking back into my time. I would hope a future reader would learn some things like: “Always Be Suspicious Of Politicians.”

Writer’s Block

Writing is always a challenge for me.

Some people might see writing as a curse.

I’ve had friends who sat staring at blank white sheets of bond paper in a typewriter or stared at the blinking cursor of a computer screen because they didn’t know what to write. And, they were quick to point out, “Writer’s Block.”

I’ve never had writer’s block.

On active duty, there were some stories that I wasn’t all that excited about writing, but I always knew how to throw the words down on paper. Once, I had some words on paper, then, it was a jigsaw puzzle where I would moved things around.

Did the story flow like a river or would the reader be shoved out into the woods on a moonless night tripping over tree roots and left to wander into briar bushes?

Landing The Lead

My biggest challenge was always the lead.

You have to try and decide how you are going to approach your reader.

Think of “the lead” as Internet Dating – You are Leaping Out Into Time Or Into The Internet; what can you possibly do to get people to notice you, or in this case, your story ?

The words have to be tailored to be that business suit in the window that stops the man on the street and brings him into your shop.

The excitement of the words have to have the ingredients to overwhelm the reader’s sense and lead him or her spellbound into your story.

It sounds corny. You work a story long enough and it speaks to you. The words, the facts, the arrangement, and, maybe, some gut instinct all comes together to give you the idea for a lead that should make the reader, glance at your story and stop for an instant to question his eyes or his mind.

“The Old That Can’t Be Right” and “The Old I Must Of Mis-Read That Sentence” are doubts that can arise from a carefully worded lead, especially in feature stories, that will cause the reader to pick up the story to examine it more closely.

If the words don’t speed me along my way with Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “Takin’ Care Of Business” playing in the back of my mind. I get up from the keyboard, light a cigarette and get a fresh cup of coffee.

Usually by the time, I get back to the keyboard, one of the ancient muses of mythology has whispered in my ear and I start fresh or make the changes and write on.

Nah, I have no Writer’s Curse.

I’m a direct descent of The Royal Universal Family Of Storytellers. In days of old, who we roamed the European countryside wailing about the deeds of our noble lords. Overtime we grabbed our bulky flashes, film and cameras to race after a story. Then, we slid back our fedoras, chewed on our pencils, and clacked away at the sticking keys of a typewriter to beat the deadline for the evening edition.

Troubadour, Scribe, Storyteller, Reporter or Journalists – we tell the stories.

A writer finds his place in time. He gets comfortable and composes the stories. Then, he steps back into the Shadows Of Time and waits. Then, a reader, picks up a book, finds a newspaper, or Googles to an article hidden in the Electronic Morgues Of The Internet.

Finally, the writer smiles and reaches out to the reader. If the reader accepts, then, the writer and reader set off on a journey that may only be minutes old or can be a trip back through years, decades, generations or centuries of time.

Dear Reader,

Welcome To My World

Write On !

Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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2 Responses

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  1. Thank you a lot for giving everyone a very memorable chance to read in detail from this blog. It really is very fantastic and as well , full of a lot of fun for me and my office co-workers to visit your blog really thrice in one week to find out the newest tips you will have. And definitely, I’m always astounded considering the astonishing advice you serve. Selected 2 ideas in this posting are indeed the best I’ve ever had.

    Despina Kilcrease

    June 12, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    • Miss Kilcrease,

      Thank you for your kind comments. You made my day. Heck, you made my week !

      Uncle Sam spoiled me.

      Back in the Good Old Days of being a working U.S. Air Force journalist, when I got a paycheck, and had the opportunity to meet, interview and write some interesting stories about people – I lived to be a journalist !

      Usually the base newspaper hit the streets on Friday morning and “Our military audience was never shy about providing feedback.” If you misspelled a name, you could bet within about 10 minutes after people began picking up the newspaper – the phone in the office would ring off the desk – which always reminded you to double check the spelling of names and proofread to make sure you had the right duty titles. Civilian or Military – people are really particular that you get their “official titles” right and spell them correctly.

      The real pride always came when someone told you, “Hey, Sam that was a great article you did on the SR-71,” or, “Hey, Sergeant Warren ever since you wrote that article on me for the base newspaper, the guys in my section keep wanting me to autograph their copy of the base newspaper.”

      What I really appreciated were those comments from people on base, who said, “Sergeant Warren, I look for your byline ever week, I like the way you write and the stuff you write about.” It was personally rewarding to realize that you had – a regular following of readers who watched for your byline – when the paper came out on Friday.

      The Internet isn’t that “hometown” community that you get on a military base. You write a story and shoot it out to The Great Electronic Beyond and hope someday that someone might read it. When someone takes the time to write back, I really appreciate it: Thank you.

      I like to know what a reader liked about my story. (I try to include some humor because you can’t always take life “so seriously.”)

      I also like to know if there was something that a reader didn’t like.

      I like to hear from my readers.

      I’m an old country boy. I was born a Texan and raised by my mother the Missouri hillbilly. I usually have an Ozarks – country boy take on Life.

      I’ve always been opinionated, which always drove my mother and my sergeants nuts because I was always ready to speak or write my mind.

      I love my country. I just don’t trust the scumbag politicians.

      On the job, I was a Die Hard Military Journalist, which meant I loved “chasing the airplanes’ and writing the stories. My Photographic Military Mentor, U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Phil D. Cooper took the time to show me how to use my new Canon AE-1 Program camera and then I learned not only to shoot photos, but a new approach to stories. Master Sergeant Cooper had been assigned to Air Force Audiovisual Service before retraining into Public Affairs. He had worked with state of the art cameras of the day like movie cameras and making like official documentaries on film. He had been one of those “highly respected U.S. Air Force photojournalist.”

      Whenever Master Sergeant Cooper went to the base photo lab, the poor photographers really hated to see him coming because he was “a perfectionist” and if a photo needed to go back to the darkroom and need another minute or two to “burn” or “dodge” in an area, then, he expected them to do it. Master Sergeant Cooper also had know problem looking at a photographer’s shots and then demanding that the photographer go back and do “a re-shoot.” Whenever a base photo lab photographer got a Strategic Air Command or U.S. Air Force photo award for photos in “The Barksdale Observer,” part of the credit had to go to Master Sergeant Cooper because “no photo” ever got in the newspaper on his watch without getting past Master Sergeant Cooper first.

      I had always called the base photo lab to send a photographer to shoot photos for one of my stories. Once I could shoot my own photos, then, I could determine if it was a situation where the photos would “tell the story” and the words would just elaborate or if the words would ” tell the story” and the photos would just be line art, clip art or eye candy to draw the reader into the story.

      I did my time as an editor. I was never to good with using a red pencil to bleed over one of my reporter’s stories. I wanted to be the “two bit hack reporter” catching “the blue bread van” maintenance trucks and riding out to the flight line to talk to the “crew dogs,” who worked on the planes or to the “jet jockey” pilots who flew them. I tried to be “Walter Cronkite with epaulets” (epaulets are those blue strips of material on the shoulder of military shirts that lie up against the collar with the button on it. Army guys have green epaulets on their uniform shirts.)

      Thank you again for your kind comments.

      Now, that I’m an old retiree. I write usually about my military experiences, memories from my childhood or things that happen in life. I try to be flexible. I put my opinion out there. I love the feedback from readers.

      I hope you and your office co-workers will keep visiting my blog. You guys feel free to comment and if you ever want to know how we did military newspapers back in The Old Days of Typewriters and Pencils drop me an email.

      Thanks again, Sam 🙂

      samwarren55

      June 13, 2011 at 10:38 AM


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