Thursday, March 17, 2011

There's an author in every journalist

OK, I admit it -- I was jealous.

Novelist Jennifer Weiner had the sold-out crowd at yesterday's Library Foundation's Books & Authors luncheon in the palm of her hand. She wittily walked us through her life and how she got to that "glamorous life of an author."

I applauded her beginnings: "Before I was a writer, I was a reader."

So what was my problem? She was/is a journalist. She had her humble beginnings in a newsroom. Heck, they were even Knight Ridder newsrooms, same as my resume shows I've spent many, many, many days.

But for those of you who know a journalist: We all have that great American novel in us. And Weiner figured out how to give birth.

Most of us never give up that dream. (I won't tell you what Metro Editor Marc Masferrer consoled me with -- something about Grandma Moses...)

But I quibble with Weiner on one key point: Reporters often tell great stories in their writing -- it's a lot more than punching in words!

In fact, Weiner still has a lot of that newsroom blood in her. Her humor, for one thing -- nothing is sacred. She admits that after all those years in newsrooms, she has to write in a coffee shop for the buzz and adrenaline. And as Wade Tatangelo reported in his preview story, she admits she really enjoyed being a reporter. But writing fiction was always her dream.

In the end, Weiner was reaffirming what everyone in the audience wanted to reaffirm: Reading and writing are core to learning, to living, to loving, to being.

Here's to the Library Foundation for fighting to keep that alive in our community.

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