Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Dance, Cowboy, Dance

Generally, the old westerns had a moment when a Black Hat guy would pull out his pistol and tell a White Hat guy to dance. The impetus for the WH was the sight of bullets kicking up dirt dangerously near his feat. And dance, he did. Where and when did he learn the steps? Right there, right then. You know that saying about necessity, mother and invention.

I would imagine that a good many non-swimmers pick up the ability rather quickly when their boats sink. Likewise, atheists learn the art of prayer, at least that of supplication, when in foxholes (or sinking boats).

It’s not a whole lot different for columnists. You have (a) A column due, (b) No ideas, (c) A deadline. Think of the deadline as a guy in a Black Hat with a pistol aimed at your feet. Think of the no ideas as your ability to dance. Think of the column due as the dance the BH wants you to do. When your editor says, “How’s the column coming? I’ll need the final draft in an hour?” it’s the same as hearing someone say, “Dance, cowboy, dance.”

Suddenly, the cowboy learns how to dance; the boater can swim; the atheist borrows a prayer book.

And me? I have a deadline, no ideas and my editor is confidently expecting a 14-inch column tomorrow morning. Dance, cowboy; swim, boater; pray, atheist.


Blogger Cold Josh Vail said...

You should download some of your brother's stuff and pilfer it for Dance Cowboy Dance moments. I wouldn't worry about copyrights as he doesn't read you anyway......

January 20, 2007 7:01 PM  

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