Right, Left, Write
My thousandth column was published sometime this year, not sure exactly when. At about 800 words each, it hasn’t amounted to a million yet; that’ll take another four years if I keep it up. It all started with letters to the editor when I felt strongly about something. Then I published a few opinion pieces in a Catholic weekly newspaper, then a few in a big daily which was first to pay me. In 1992, I began publishing every week and lately I’m asking myself why I keep doing it. The money is nice, but it’s not a lot. Other ventures pay much better.
It’s probably because I write about whatever I want. Mostly it’s been politics and world affairs, or social issues, or history - whatever is most on my mind any given week. Sometimes it’s a personal issue, but there are some personal issues about which I’d like to write but cannot do so publicly because it might hurt others, or because I haven’t come to enough resolution on them to make any sense in print. Should they resolve themselves, they’ll likely emerge here.
Various editors have suggested that I write more of this kind of column or that kind, but I’ve resisted, and I guess that answers my question. I only write what I feel like writing, and I’m likely to continue as long as I can do that.
When I started in the mid-to-late 1980s, I was still pretty liberal. If I’d stayed that way, I would likely have gotten bigger checks because most big dailies are liberal, but I changed. I was moving right while New England was moving left. Readership diminished. I’m still changing, and don’t expect to stop until I stop breathing.
An old friend from Massachusetts happened upon my blog last year and was shocked that I’m so conservative now. We both worked a couple of years with Saul Alinsky, red diaper baby “community organizers” in the early ‘70s. He’s still a proud leftist and loyal Democrat. He didn’t ask me why I’d changed, and I didn’t ask him why he hasn’t. Perhaps we’ll discuss it someday.
The rest is here.