What the Shuck: Steve Blow, Good Job on That Trinity Column. Except ...

Categories: Schutze
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Editing memo to Steve Blow:

Thank you for getting around to writing the column I directed you to write on the Trinity River. It was a good effort, in the main. I hate to quibble with you, but I do need to point out a few errors and omissions. If you recall, I wrote that the following elements were to be included:

  • Lots of stuff runs into problems.
  • Shucks.
  • Lots of stuff changes.
  • Shucks.
  • The naysayers and the down-in-the-mouthers are negative and bad.
  • The Trinity River toll road can to be paid for and it can to be built out where it floods and nobody cares about levees what in the heck is a dang levee anyway they're stupid.
  • If they don't build the toll road it will be the End Times in the whole world except Sunnyvale...
  • Double shucks.

Yesterday, you finally published the column in question. I must point out that you missed your deadline on this by more than a week. I told you the column was to be in the paper at least by April 12. You may have had good reasons for taking an extra week. Let's not dwell on that. I have reviewed the elements I asked for, and I see the following areas where you did or did not do as I instructed you:

1) Lots of stuff runs into problems.

You wrote: "Granted, bad news has come in regular gusts lately. Road money has dried up. Levee repair estimates have soared."

This was O.K., Steve.

2) Shucks.

You wrote: nothing. The shucks is missing here.

3) Lots of stuff changes.

You wrote: "And in the most preposterous turn yet, the levees may be deemed too "historic" for urban innovation around them."

Not exactly on target, Steve, but I will accept this.

4) Shucks.

You wrote: "But hold the funeral dirge."

Great.

5) The naysayers and the down-in-the-mouthers are negative and bad.

You wrote: "Gloaters, you know who you are. You secretly do a little happy dance with each headline about another obstacle. 'Told you so' tastes like sweet wine on your lips.

And Gloomy Ones, you sink a little lower with each headline. 'Aw, forget it' is the attitude now replacing that once-rosy hope. "

Really great, Steve. Exactly what I was looking for. Good work.

6) The Trinity River toll road can to be paid for and it can to be built out where it floods and nobody cares about levees what in the heck is a dang levee anyway they're stupid.

You wrote: "Too much progress has been made and too much good stuff is in the works to lose faith now."

O.K. I guess.

7) If they don't build the toll road it will be the End Times in the whole world except Sunnyvale ...

You wrote: "More than anyone in town, Gail Thomas has pushed for the Trinity project as balm for the city's soul. The president of the Trinity Trust sees it as so much more than just a parkway or trails or lakes. Gail says they all add up to a vital reconnection to our source, to our center. So, yes, setbacks for any part of the project trouble her. "Hurt my heart," as she said last week."

Pretty good. Gail is always solid for an End Times quote.

8) Double shucks.

You wrote: "But the river still beckons us, still needs us."

A little schmaltzy. I was looking for something folksier, with a "dang" in it or even a "dag-nabbit." But this is all right.

Steve, if you will go back to the top, you will see that you totally missed the first "shucks." I put it there for a reason. It's all about the internal meter of the piece. The shuckses need to be repeated at regular intervals in order to maintain the flow of the copy.

You are usually better than this at taking direction. Please remember: When I say "shucks," I mean "shucks."

Steve, I don't want you to get all down on yourself. It was a good effort. But after this, every little chance we get, let's all be snappier. O.K.? No hard feelings? Great. Upward and onward.
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