Archive for March, 2011


Posted: March 23, 2011 in Uncategorized
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I didn’t always used to want to be a journalist. Literature was my passion and focus for as long as I can remember. It was my initial major in college. When I was reading, I was writing. I practically lived in the library. There was this table in the back corner of the 3rd floor. It was quiet and hardly anyone wandered into that section. You would be surprised by how few people need to read about paleontology, only 2 people ever wandered back there in the 4 years I spent time there, thought I can’t really account for the instances I wasn’t there. But I digress.

I wanted t be a writer. I, like most people in my degree, wanted to write the next great novel. Something that would create a tidal wave of change. But that sounds cliche, it’s not exactly what I wanted. I guess the words escape me. It was never about monetary advances, but I had a very harsh reality check talking to Professor Magnerson. He told me flat out “unless you get a job as a teacher there isn’t much you can do with your degree. You writing skills are wonderful, but getting published might be more difficult than you expect. Just become a journalist, at least then you get paid to write.”

The next day I changed my major. Sometimes I feel like I made the wrong choice. With all the deadlines I have now I don’t have the time to write all the word and ideas the are constantly buzzing around my head like a swarm of bees. “But, you keep a blog?!” Some of you might argue. It’s not the same, these thoughts are just as genuine, but quick and effortless. I feel like the bees are slowly dying out, one by one.

When I was younger my father would read to me at night. He read me the epics by Homer and upon reading things I was awakened, or as awakened as a six-year-old can be. I became fixated on characters I wouldn’t understand for more than a decade later. The heart of Odysseus was something that solidified my humanity, his strength was never tarnished by his weaknesses and his desires were pure. I remember the first time literature ever made me cry, and it was him:

So the famous singer sang his tale,
But Odysseus melted and from under his eyes tears ran down, drenching his cheeks.
As a woman weeps , lying over the body of her dear husband,
Who fell fighting for her city and people as he tried to beat off the pitiless day from
City and children; she sees him dying and gasping for breath,
And winding her body around him as she cries high and shrill,
While the men behind her, hitting her with their spear butts on the back and shoulders,
Forced her up and led her away into slavery,
To have hard work and sorrow, and her cheeks were wracked with pitiful weeping.
Such were the pitiful tears Odysseus shed from under his brows.

Not only does this simile reflect the major bonds of loyalty, but it mirrors the depth of the despair cascading through the chest of Odysseus and his wife Penelope. She is the only woman from literature whom I have ever wished was real.

I’ve been rambling. My reality is not found in the wars of the ancients, nor will it ever be pressed between to hardcovers on a dusty shelf. It is on this laptop and in newsprint each week, mocking me.



Being a writer you would think that the idea of having my own blog wouldn’t seem so strange. I prefer a public medium, but this is more personal. I am a journalist for The Open Letter. It’s a small paper, we don’t even have a website…well, we do; but it’s fairly embarrassing as far as websites are concerned (yellow text on a green background embarrassing). But it’s really hard to get a job in a reputable newspaper these days. I’ll take what I can get until something better comes along. I’m more focused on building an impressive portfolio. Right now it’s a bit too reminiscent of an 8-year-old girl’s diary. I literally have an article on why Arabian horses are better than American horses. It’s barely a step up from rambling on about ponies. I’m not sure if shame is how I feel about it. Perhaps reproach? Not sure. That’s a problem I have come to accept with The Open Letter is that I often have to dumb down my vocabulary for my audience here. I wouldn’t call them yokels, just not particularly fond of learning.
So, as a relief from my consistent lack of variety within my articles as of late, here are all the synonyms for shame that I know:
And breathe. I think that’s an adequate introduction to the type of person I am.
Oh yea, my name is Alex. I am 26.