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The Lookout | December 2, 2020

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Robin’s Rant: This is how things go

Robin’s Rant: This is how things go
  • On March 20, 2020

By Robin Morales
Associate Editor

As the associate editor of this phenomenal publication, I am paid to edit things and write four to five stories every two weeks. This column, “Robin’s Rant” (between you and me I think that’s a rather clever little title), is always the hardest assignment.

Look at the first sentence again. I rewrote it about 20 times. Writing the first sentence for stories is like trying to run a marathon drunk and out of shape. It will take a while and the writer will run in the wrong direction and fall over more than once.

There are exceptions to this rule, of course. The first sentence for “The Hobbit” came to J.R.R. Tolkien bundled up like a Christmas gift while grading student papers at Oxford.

J.K. Rowling said that the origins for “Harry Potter,” fully formed, appeared in her mind one day while waiting for a train.

Perhaps if I started writing my name “R.V. Morales” I would be more successful.

My main problem is coming up with ideas. I have a lot of opinions, but not all of them can be stretched out between 300 and 350 words in an intelligent way (confession: I’m a 350 to 400 words kind of guy anyway).

I used to keep a scribbled list of ideas in a notepad. It included things like “potholes,” “depression,” “marijuana,” “Protestants,” “Freud’s penis-envy theory” and so on. I threw away this list because it never helped me.

The best ideas come between 3 and 4 in the morning. I’m still trying to figure out why that is.

This is my 13th column this year. This is something I should be able to hammer out in a couple hours on a Saturday morning, click-clacking away on my word processor. This version of events is a fantasy. The reality is that I’m a perfectionist who is unsatisfied with everything.

If I could, I would fill this space in the newspaper with practical information that would benefit people and make them see things in a new way. My words would be a tantalizing poetry tugging at the heartstrings and loosening the flow of tears.

Instead, I stare at a blank Microsoft Word document for a while. Eventually I remember that I’m supposed to try to be a functioning adult and I write whatever words feel right at the moment. That is the end of this column. It is 400 words exactly.

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