And so it goes, maybe…

A great deal of my inspiration filters down from a writing group I belong to, a mixture of everyday bloggers and others focused more on political, religious and personal issues. All in all, it’s a pleasant mixture of personalities and shared stories, especially with a few long-distance acquaintances made along the way.

Each week there are prompts posted, some are more like challenges but, then again, isn’t writing a challenge in itself? Certain things will incite me to hit the ground running, others, well they leave me staring at a blank screen in my home office.

I went over some recent prompts, long after I’d responded with two which I combined in one post. For the past few days, one keeps jumping out at me, beckoning me to write something, anything. The prompt? If you could trade lives with any person (living or deceased, real or fictional), who would it be, and why?

My response? Put me in Linda Ellerbee’s shoes without hesitation! A longtime Washington correspondent for NBC News, host of NBC News Overnight, Ellerbee was an American journalist, anchor, producer, author, reporter, speaker and commentator. She is widely known as the twenty-five year host of Nick News, Nickelodeon’s highly rated and recognized news program for older school-aged children and teens that addressed substantive issues, including wars, disease and disasters, without condescension. Her work on NBC News Overnight was recognized as possibly the best written and most intelligent news program ever by the jurors of the duPont Columbia Awards.

After 43 years in journalism, Ellerbee retired in 2015 and, from where I’m sitting, that was a tremendous loss to the world of mainstream media. Her style was unapologetic, quite literate, very smart, assertive, funny, keenly observant and irreverent. Would I trade lives with her? Does a bear poop in the woods? Without hesitation, absofackinglutely!

“I never had any desire to be an anchor, because of the air-head image for women,” she says in her smoky Texas lilt. “You’ll see a lot of people on air who look like they blow-dry their teeth. I’d prefer being behind the camera just writing, if it paid as well.”

“I can hold my head up, look in the mirror and I didn’t have to be ashamed of anything I ever did or wrote,” she said. “I fought some battles and I won some and lost some. But I get to walk out the door and look back feeling good about it.”

These are two of my favorite statements from Linda Ellerbee which came at the time of her retirement, during one of many interviews. Her sarcasm was unparalleled, something I can so identify with, along with her ability to override challenges that came her way. Had I made different choices, education-wise, I might have walked a similar path as she did, possibly with a fair amount of success. Maybe.

And so it goes.

From the Writer’s Workshop… If you could trade lives with any person (living or deceased, real or fictional), who would it be, and why?


Pass the tea…

elderly tea

“To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and those who edit and read it are old women over their tea.”

Henry David Thoreau


What goes best with a hot cup of tea? A heaping spoonful of gossip, of course.

Gossip is one stage nastier than chatter, one stage seedier than investigation. It’s poised between rumor and the real, between the stab in the back and the handshake, between tastelessness and the libel lawyer’s office.  Dan Rather once remarked that “the news is discovering something someone does not want known.” In recent years, the mainstream media seems to have evolved into various network-based, old woman, tea party gatherings with focus more on gossip than reporting just the facts.

For example, gossip known as leaks which takes over a large stretch of journalism.  I recall Bernie Sanders once commenting that “the media has become gossip, clickbait and punditry.”  I’m not a fan of Bernie but will admit he did have a point.  On any given day, the news media hops into the broadcasting driver’s seat to make us aware of political leaks, a serious form of gossip which seems to be taking over much of journalism.  Respectable journalism has been infected by much of this straight-up, no-apologies public gossip.  Read much from either the New York Times or Washington Post lately?  Seems both have succumbed to reporting items that are a tad more than gossipy in their intent.  Everywhere one looks in show business, politics, even business, gossip creeps more and more into the foreground. Once the freak show in journalism, gossip has now become center ring. 

I’m a realist.  Gossip plays a significant role in the reporting of news.  More with newspapers who have taken a back seat to television and radio, the preferred choice of many when a breaking story takes place.  But…gossip?  Well, both websites and tabloid journalists are terrific sources for sharing all the significant and juicy details surrounding some news tidbit.

Pass the tea, please.


workshop-button-1From Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop...Share a favorite quote you came across this month.