An Assignment

I’m taking this class called, “How to Write a Column.” Some people, including me are having a hard time finding their Column Writing Voice. I found the other class I took, wherein our assignments consisted of writing short articles in the range of 300-800 words, pretty easy. It’s like, here are the facts, dudes – enjoy. Writing opinion columns, on the other hand, has been completely exasperating for me.

I’ve learned something about myself in this class: I really, really dislike picking sides. Usually I’d prefer to look at and empathize with ALL sides of a situation. I rarely pick black or white. Everything is almost always a gray to me. While I find this is a useful attribute to have socially, it is the cold and frustrating opposite of what one hopes to achieve in a column. It’s not that I don’t have opinions – I guess I’d just rather keep them hugged into my chest where they can’t be picked at.

Anyway, the next class is our last meeting. Patricia, our instructor, challenged us to an exercise in voice-finding. She wanted us, as our final assignment, to write about the thing that pisses us off / drives us the most crazy, in the world. The idea is that the voice of the writing is less inhibited and more pure when the writer is livid.

Well, there is a problem with this. One thing I knew about myself before I started this class is that I hate writing in an inflammatory style. I hate being mad and writing about something that makes me mad, makes me even more mad. Also, I think that writing about things that make me angry gives too much power to those things. I’d rather just vent it off on my poor friends than let it live on and on and on in some kind of printed or digital format so I can read it 10 years from now and get pissed off about it, again. My friends would probably prefer I write inflammatory columns.

I’ve started this column 100 times so far, or at least once.

Then I stopped and made a list of things that piss me off:

  • Having to write an inflammatory column
  • People jackin’ my stylz
  • Anonymous blogging
  • People runnin’ off their mouths about how a Christian and a Muslim shouldn’t even bother
  • Why does every effing page in Wired, including the articles look like an ad?
  • The TTC’s never-ending bullshit reasons for raising fares while providing crappier and crappier service
  • Motorists who don’t know wtf to do at all-way stops
  • … Tilley hats

I wonder, is there any way I can turn this blog post into my column? Previously I took two crappy blog posts about my gray hair project and turned them into a passable column. Hopefully my brain will work on solving this question while I am asleep and I’ll awake with my column already mentally written. I have taken my hot milk with honey in anticipation.

If it doesn’t, consider yourself warned, Tilley.

2 thoughts on “An Assignment

  1. As a professional writer (and from this point on I’d better be on my best behaviour and spel gud), one who has written innumerable columns (at least one of which one a national award, but that was decades ago), the columns I enjoyed the most were the ones I wrote because the subject meant something to me, not the ones a columnist is supposed to write (the economy, politics, etc.). I enjoy your writing because it’s obviously about something with meaning to you. It’s the same with other “blogs” I read.

    If people worried less about what it’s supposed to read like, and just wrote, we’d see better stuff. But that’s just my opinion.

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