So yeah. The good people at Event Horizon Press are asking me to do yet another book. Well, two books. They want another Charley Ridgway book, which will take time (simply making up stuff is a lot tougher than I originally thought), but they also want a non-fiction book.
Specifically, they’re looking for a collection of my journalism. I self-published a book of some of my MauiTime features a few years ago, but rather than simply put that into print, they’ve asked me to draw a wider selection of my work that spans the time between today and when I became a reporter for OC Weekly way back in January 1996.
Ah, 1996. It was a magical time: Bill Clinton was cruising towards a second term as our nation’s president, Michael Jordan decided to appear in the Looney Tunes movie Space Jam and the world somehow found a way to cope with Sammy Hagar’s decision to leave Van Halen.
Anyway, this project has required me to blow the accumulated layers of dust off my clip files and start rummaging through stories I haven’t read (much less thought of) in over a decade. Reading through the stories, one thing became immediately clear: news stories don’t age well at all. I’ve always known this, but it’s not something we reporters like to think about. We put a lot of effort into crafting a news story, and the thought it will be trash at the end of a day or a week is depressing.
But that’s reality: news stories are written for the moment, and not beyond. Reading them years or even a decade after the fact is disorienting. What seemed important back then is suddenly, now, usually irrelevant.
Still, I did find a few stories here and there that could stand reprinting. What exactly the book would look like, and what it would include, is still a work in process. But it’s definitely doable. As for whether anyone would want to read such a book, is another question entirely…
Photo: Thomas S. Denison/Wikimedia Commons