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Unformatted text preview: ropensity to produce vast amounts of words in short periods of time. But once I suddenly owned the paper, and it was time to sink or swim, I discovered an amazing ability to crank out windy and colorful stories about almost everything, and nothing. A moderately severe car wreck with no fatalities was front page news with breathless quotes from eyewitnesses and ambulance drivers. A small factory expansion sounded like a boon to the nation's Gross National Product. A bake sale at the Baptist Ladies' WMU could run for eight hundred words. A drug arrest sounded as if the Colombians were advancing unchecked upon the innocent children of Clanton. A blood drive by the Civitan Club carried the urgency of a wartime shortage. Three stolen pickups in one week had the feel of organized crime. I wrote about the people of Ford County. Miss Callie's was my first human interest story, and over the years I tried to run at least one a month. There was a survivor of the Bataan death march, the last local veteran of World War I, a sailor who had been at Pearl Harbor, a retiring minister who'd served one small country congregation for forty-five years, an old missionary who'd lived for thirty-one years in the Congo, a recent graduate who was dancing in a musical on Broadway, a lady who'd lived in twenty-two states, a man who'd been married seven times and was anxious to share his advice with future newlyweds, Mr. Mitlo—our token immigrant, a retiring basketball coach, the short-order cook at the Tea Shoppe who'd been frying eggs forever. And on and on. These stories were immensely popular. However, after nine years the list of interesting people in Ford County had very few names on it. I was tired of writing. Twenty pages a week, fifty-two weeks a year. I woke up each morning thinking of either a new story or a new angle for an old one. Any bit of news or any unusual event was inspiration to puff up a piece and stick it somewhere in the paper. I wrote about dogs, antique trucks, a legendary tornado, a haunted h...
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- Spring '10