York Town Square

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York editor/blogger writes about the writer’s life

I wrote about writing and journalism and history in the York Sunday News on June 18 with the following lead-in note:
“I hate to write,” a sage managed to pen, “but love to have written.” …

Great insight there, because writing is torturous work. But there’s great satisfaction in kicking back with the Sunday newspaper to read something I’ve written or edited, whether that effort took hours, days or months.
I try to write something for our newspaper every week. Sometimes, the work can be identified with a byline. Or it could be an editorial that reflects the views of several people and, thus, does not get a byline. I often spend considerable time editing someone else’s work, rather than writing something of my own.
My topics generally focus on history or journalism – they’re really a continuum. Journalists write the first draft of history. Historians take it from there.
I write about every day.
That might be four or so times a week for my Web log or blog, “York Town Square,” at Yorkblog.com. I’m always working on long-range history projects, whether it’s a book-length topic or a 700-word column such as the piece accompanying this note.
I think it’s important for a newspaper editor to write, to keep fresh the rigors of the work.
But writing is no solo venture, as often portrayed. Author Flannery O’Connor called it the myth of the “lonely writer.”
“This is a common cliché,” she wrote, “a hangover probably from the romantic period and the ideas of the artist as Sufferer and Rebel.”
The truth is that every writer needs an editor, and I have a great one in Scott Fisher. He has a firm understanding of our complex community, identifies “holes” or questions not answered in my writing and sands down my coarse copy.
Sometimes, people ask me about my favorite piece.
As hard as it was to write it, the answer comes easily. It’s the accompanying piece on a young soldier fighting at Okinawa, part of the foreword of my book “In the Thick of the Fight, York County, Pa. Counters the Axis Threat in WWII.”
It’s a piece I love to have written, particularly this Father’s Day.