Archive for December 10th, 2006

December 10, 2006


I recently took on a new position at Union Cab of Madison: I am now co-editor of our monthly newsletter The Dispatch. I’m still driving my same two shifts a week but now have a small–but essential–part inside our company. The Dispatch is an internal newsletter which means that its function and design (and content) are only for coop members. We don’t keep it internal because we publish trade secrets or gossip about our customers but because most of what goes out is information that might be helpful to our drivers and staff.

My co-editor Paul is also a driver but he has assorted other jobs like photo clipping for the Wisconsin State Journal. His focus is the layout and design of The Dispatch which works out great. I did some design work in my years at Impressions but found it frustrating and time consuming. So my role is doing some writing but mostly taking submissions and doing real editing. Oddly enough, this is my first job in this field and so far I’m loving every minute of it.

In college I was a master at writing papers. I took so many incredibly boring courses–there are many periods of literature that nobody should have to endure–that I had to learn how to crank them out. After a great poetry class and some encouragement from my peers, I figured out that I was much more interested in writing songs and I gave up all formal writing for good. Ten years later, I’m still writing songs–not as many as often but they still appear–and trying to get back into the writing business. This blog was more or less created with that in mind and I’ve found that writing is hard work but the more I do it, the easier it is to create good stuff. My first piece for The Dispatch was a book review of the 1943 Golden Book The Taxi That Hurried in which I examined the political overtones of this beloved children’s book (I can put it up here if anyone wants to read it).

I am a pretty fair writer but a much better editor. I’m a good songwriter because I’m a good musician and someone who is fascinated with language but I wouldn’t be anywhere if I wasn’t my own harshest editor. I won’t let a song out of my site until I’m confident I’ve boiled it down to the best possible point. This has made the return to long form writing somewhat of a challenge. I want what I write to be pre-edited before my fingers do the typing and unfortunately the world doesn’t work like that. So I’m learning a lot from the articles submitted to The Dispatch. All of our regular contributors have given me the green light to edit as I please and with this freedom I can turn good pieces into smooth professional writing.