20 Observations on Newspaper Reporting

  1. ALTHOUGH THEY RELY ON THEM, few people say they actually trust the news media. (I call it “Ross’ Paradox.”)
  2. Everybody has a story. And many want to share it.
  3. Newswriting is a form of reality-creation, wherein readers trust you to describe the world beyond their immediate perceptions. Don’t ever abuse that trust.
  4. Every face is a door, and if you knock just right, you’ll be invited in to witness wonders.
  5. First-responders have the darkest sense of humor of anyone outside of reporters. It’s an evolutionary strategy that serves both well.

Prosatio Silban and the Final Kindness

(Two printed pages. If you’re new to these tales, here are the preface and introduction. Enjoy.)

OF THE NUMBERLESS CREATURES INHABITING the Exilic Lands, none are perhaps so quaint as the lumbering buopoth – and though no two descriptions agree as to the shy animal’s exact appearance, Prosatio Silban felt he knew every pore and curve in the great dray-beast’s backside.

His knowledge did not come from prurience; rather, he had stared at little else for the past few days.

The Cook For Any Price was driving his galleywagon eastward through the flat and sweltering Western Wides, and had been sandwiched between bright blue sky and featureless green plain for the greater part of a sweaty eternity.

Words To Bring Back: “Cryptic”

– Definition: adj. Having a meaning that is mysterious or obscure

– Used in a sentence: The president’s* speeches are somewhat cryptic to those who don’t share his gestalt, and altogether not for those who do.

– Why: What with the instant-knowledge advent of Google and Wikipedia, the cryptic quality is in danger of disappearing. Don’t let that sense of enigmatic mystery die.

Soul Food (A Prosatio Silban Tale)

(Seven printed pages. If you’re new to these tales, here are the preface and introduction. Enjoy.)

PROSATIO SILBAN’S FACE WAS THE picture of dispassionate interest, but his heart gave a familiar tug of weary resignation. This is what comes of confusing prosperity with blessing, he thought.

The Cook For Any Price and his prospective client’s retainer, Ulud, were sitting on lacquered folding chairs in the shade of the cook’s galleywagon which, along with innumerable booths, stalls and stands, congested the dockside bazaar of cosmopolitan Soharis. Bright hawker’s cries and early spring sunlight cut the chill morning air, and the salty breeze rising from the bay tangled the market’s aromas and odors into a seductive mélange. A dozen languages spilled from dozens of mouths: porters and sailors, farmers and fishermen, merchants and buyers, all bustling about their perpetual business with customary gusto.

The road to a friend’s house is never long.”
— Dave Chavoya

Prosatio Silban and the Iron Dray-Beast

(Five-and-a-half printed pages. If you’re new to these tales, here are the preface and introduction.)

ALTHOUGH PROSATIO SILBAN’S COUNTRYMEN WERE were wary of most forms of magik – spells, illusions, conjurations, astral mucking-about – their phobia didn’t quite extend to items of convenience.

Amulets and talismans were generally tolerated throughout the Three Cities and Thousand Villages of the Uulian Commonwell, so long as they carried the patronage of one of the six-hundred-thirteen Flickering Gods. Difficulty staying awake? Finger a token sacred to Stueten, God of Energetic Determination. At your wits’ end over that crying infant? Zzyzzyvor, Bringer of Restful Relief has a charm just for you. Feeling the ennui of the jaded urbanite? A blessed figurine of Oliento, Goddess of Small Pleasures is what’s needed.

First Graf: Torah

(BE HONEST — YOU MUST HAVE known I’d get around to this one eventually, right?)

I make no rigid claims of authenticity, accuracy, or authorship for this work. As far as I’m concerned, this is “simply” a collection of ancient Jewish campfire didactics which were knit together in somewhat final form some 2,500 years ago. And everything about it is open to (ideally informed) debate. That’s kind of the point, actually: to give us, and have given us, something to discuss as a community as we grope our way through the often-cruel centuries. Torah (literally, “teaching” or “instruction”) is what has kept us going for as long as we’ve been here — it ain’t the lox and bagels, folks.