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When I wrote a regular newspaper column, I had to cough up about 500 semi-coherent 
words twice a week. It wasn't always easy, especially when Misty and I were recording 
or doing concerts. Here's an example of a day when I had no ideas, but I didn't let 
that stop me: 

Headline: WORLD TO END! 

I'm not going to write a column today. I hope you'll understand. It's just that I 
believe, and I feel strongly about this, that a writer should have something important 
to say if he's going to take up a reader's time, and today I just can't seem to think 
of anything important. So hate me. 

Of course, I could fake it like other columnists do when they don't have any ideas, 
but my ethics as a true artist won't allow me to resort to such cheap tricks. No, 
I've decided that the best way is to be completely honest with you about the whole 
matter and bow out gracefully. I'm confident that next issue I will bounce back with my 
usual earth-shaking subject matter and sage commentary, but for now, discretion is the 
better part of valor. 

I pride myself in the fact that this, the straightforward column, is attracting an 
intelligent group of readers, and I certainly wouldn't think of offending our faithful,
intellectual audience with any phony subterfuge. 

One of the big shot syndicated columnists had a hangover on New Years Day and couldn't 
put together an article. Do you think he laid his cards on the table, like I'm doing 
with you? No way. He filled his entire space with: "I will not mix vodka and champagne", 
or something like that, repeated a hundred times over. I say it's a pretty sleazy way 
to do business. 

If you're wondering about the above headline, "WORLD TO END!", don't let it worry you. 
It's just my little joke. I figured if I couldn't come up with a column for you, the 
least I could do would be to give you an interesting headline. As far as I know, the 
world's not going to end right away. If it does, I had nothing to do with it. I was 
only kidding. (Ha-Ha) 

I don't really have to be this honorable about it, you know. If I were that kind of a 
guy, I could knock a politician, complain about high prices, or get out the old joke 
book, but I have too much respect for you. 

So, you see, we seasoned journalists have more than one way to skin a reader, if we're 
of a mind to, but you know you can trust me. (Let's see now...That's four hundred and
twenty-eight words. Hmm.) 

Far be it from me to dupe a person who cares enough to drop good money in the newsstand 
slot (Four hundred and fifty-nine words.), so I'm laying it on the line: No column today, 
folks. Tune in next issue for real thrills. See you then. (At the end of this sentence 
I'll have four hundred and ninety-nine words.) 


(That's 500.) 

Copyright  July 18, 2001 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.


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