Friday 15 October 2010
This is an editorial piece I recently illustrated for the Big Issue in the UK. The article was really interesting as the author tested himself by writing an article where each setence starts with a letter of the alphbet A-Z. You can read the full article after the break.
An attempt to make each sentence of a column start with the next letter of the alphabet is an endeavor that has questionable benefits. Because it is clearly governed more by necessity, than the writer’s desire to entertain or educate.
Columnists hold an enviable position within media circles. Dishing out one’s own opinions on a regular basis is a task that many journalists would give their brand new Mac for. Even the most socially conscious and committed of news hounds would admit to eyeing up the comment pages, thinking, ‘I could tell the world exactly what I think!’
For that is what a column provides: the chance to air one’s views, in public, so that everyone can know where you stand. Getting your point across in this noisy, cluttered world is not always easy, so the opportunity to do this in print is a privilege.
However, all columnists soon find that coming up with something to say each time is a taxing matter. It seems at first that you possess a bottomless well of subjects upon which to sound off, that your spleen will forever remain fully un-vented. Jobsworths, the government, celebrity culture, cleaning the car – at last you can express your deepest feelings on all these and any other subjects.
Keeping the rage rolling is a tricky assignment, though. Letting off steam on the page tends to have its desired effect. More often than not, the writer will feel sated with his or her efforts, and sooner or later the muse will start to meander. Not wishing to let down an adoring public, let alone an impatient editor, the columnist will begin to cast the net, fishing for ways to fill the space. Only then do they realise the scale of what is required.
People often complain that they do not have a ‘voice’ in this world, but given the opportunity, how much would they really be able to say? Quite a lot at first perhaps, but week after week … after week? Raising the necessary ire or amusement or indignation is tricky enough, let alone picking the appropriate words and sentences – in the right order – to express the sentiment.
So, with a furrowed brow and an approaching deadline, what does the writer do? That solution, dear reader, is evident right here. Under your very noses is an example of how inspiration – or lack of it – can lead to a column such as this.
Very clever, you might be thinking, but where is it all leading? What rubbish will he be writing next, just to fill the page?
Xylophones! You just knew that was coming, it was so obvious, so predictable, really, it’s enough to send one to sleep.