Behind the scenes of the biz

Behind the scenes of the biz

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There is a belief in the newspaper biz that summer is the time for columnists to step away from issues of the day and have a conversation with their readers. That conversation should take the form of letting your readers know more about you and engaging on why they like or dislike the work you put out each week. 

Many of you know much about me and my background since you’ve read my memoir “And Then I Dance” available on — yep, that was a plug for my best-selling, award-winning book. (By the way, here’s a detail most don’t know: During the summer, Amazon discounts many of its books since, like a newspaper, it’s a little slow this time of year.)

Back to the subject. A few weeks ago, I talked about relationships in this column. This one instead will talk about style — writing style, that is, since I’d never get an award for fashion. There are various styles of column writing. There are those who go for creativity, those whose works are full of facts and figures and those who use humor to get to a point. You might have guessed by now that, on occasion, I use all of those techniques. 

A typical column for me is to give you my feelings by exploring a subject matter being debated in the community, or one affecting our rights, and at time even a mainstream topic when I feel I have something to add to the conversation.

But all columns have something in common: They are all edited and proofread before going to press. When I write something I feel strongly about, the column is full of passion. My fingers fly across the keyboard and I’m not stopping for grammar, spelling or punctuation. It’s the passion of that moment and the ideas that are coming from my heart or brain. 

That style was used by Jill Johnston in the 1970s in the Village Voice. And, thanks to my editors over the years, that passion has made this column the most-awarded and read in LGBT media. It’s published in other newspapers and on other websites — thank you, publishers and editors — and in that way, it becomes a contribution to LGBT media, which as you know is also a passion for me. 

So thank you for embracing me, a kid from public education and not a great student, and for supporting this column over the years. And thanks to my editors who help me tackle some of the issues of the day.


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