Best of the Archives #9: The King of Tests Strikes Out

THE ARCHIVAL ARTICLE:

THE KING OF TESTS STRIKES OUT (2002)

THE BACKGROUND STORY:

One of the personal out-takes from my Credidero writing project was an analysis of the types of writing I’ve done over the years, and how I might alter or adapt it in the years ahead. In the summary of that piece, I described my four major types of writing as follows:

Reactive: These would include reviews and related pieces; I saw, heard, read or did something, and here is how I react to it. Political pieces probably fall into this bucket too, as they are often written in response to governmental or social actions that generate a reaction requiring explanation.

Descriptive: I see these are being my experiential pieces, and I probably do this most often in travel articles and in my professional writing, where I am trying to tell readers something in ways that lets them see what I see, or understand what I understand, or value what I value.

Creative: The most obvious of the four categories, these would be my short stories, poems, lyrics, or whatever else just spins out of my head without direct anchor in the real world, until I make it so by writing about it.

Reflective: I see it as a type of writing that is personal, but is not necessarily anchored in any specific outside stimulus or activity. If I go back through the 1,200+ articles in my web archive, it’s unquestionably the least represented category of writing in my archive.

I see today’s Best of the Archives article as being one of a relatively small number of “Reflective” pieces that I’ve written and posted over the years. It’s a true story, with some some true personal lessons, and while it’s written to entertain, there’s no artifice in it, nor was it fictionalized, nor was it in response or reaction to any particular external stimulus. I know I wrote it as part of a Metroland group piece, but I do not remember exactly what the topic was. “The School Issue” maybe? I don’t know.

As flamboyantly out-there as my public persona has been over the years, here and elsewhere, I think I’ve actually been somewhat surprisingly private in terms of the truly meaningful and personal things that I’ve shared online or in print media. I do know that when I have shared them, they tend to be the more popular items on the website over a long period of time, so that should motivate me to write more of them. I think my reluctance to do so is anchored in the fact that so many of them involve(d) other people, and I don’t wish to violate their privacy or betray their trusts, so when I actually am inclined to share such tales, I almost always do so by framing them as fiction, in prose or poetry format.

Memoirs are big business, though, so maybe as I look to the future, this is where I should focus my writing attention. Food for thought.

A Navy Rule: “When in doubt, ‘Charlie’ out.”

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