Secrets Behind the Columns

Every once in a while I’ll use this space to peel back the newsprint for a glimpse at the (ugh) inner workings of one of my columns. How about if we start today?

Today’s column and Friday’s were both primarily composed of canned material, which I put together on Monday and Tuesday so that I could take the next three days off.

Friday’s YouTube column was written last spring, put aside as an “evergreen” and updated last week. (Sadly, the Zappa video that was the column’s focal point had vanished from YouTube in the interim, but that’s the way YouTube works.)

Meanwhile, the bulk of Sunday’s column was also penned quite some time ago. The literary references were compiled in the spring, I believe, while reader James’ message about the Pomona Market in London came in around June and was written shortly afterward, along with the Noosa Hinterland addendum.

Why the delay?

Fearing being caught short one day on deadline, I tend to hoard column material the way a squirrel hoards nuts. Well, except that I hoard it in computer files, not in my cheeks. What I’ll do on occasion is spend a free afternoon writing up potential items from reader letters or e-mails or my own stray bits of research cluttering my desk. If they’re not timely, these finished items are often set aside for later use.

Sometimes, um, much later.

I haven’t missed a column since May 2005 and pride compels me to keep the streak going as long as possible. My feeling is, these evergreen columns aren’t my best, but they’re better than nothing. If readers are looking for my column on Wednesday, Friday or Sunday, I’d like there to be a column there for them to find.

With the Friday after Thanksgiving looming, when I’ll have two columns due on a Wednesday, expect another visit to my vault.

OK, that’s enough peeking into the guts of these two columns. Suture, please, nurse. Let’s sew ’em up!

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  • meg

    Funny, that’s exactly how blogging works for me!