Strangely enough, the early writing urge came from radio when I was in seventh grade. CHED was an AM giant playing Top 40 music. But it also featured a former Journal reporter named Eddie Keen serving as an editorialist who, by and large, spoke for the little guy in Edmonton. Eddie had two editorials a day, one running at 7:00 a.m. and again at 8:00, the other at noon and 5:30 p.m. Eddie’s words caught my ear and I listened to him religiously. Eventually, I got up the nerve to call him when I got home from school and asked him to mail me a copy of an editorial I espe- cially liked. When it came, I studied it, looking at the words Eddie used, the way he constructed his sentences and thoughts.
Eddie became my hero, to the point where I decided I could start writing my own editorials after I did my homework in the evening. I wrote two a day—just like Eddie. Each editorial was a page of copy, double-spaced. I wrote in all capital letters and used three dots in between periods—just like Eddie. (I later found out the three dots is a common practice in broadcast copy, telling announcers where to pause before speaking the next sentence.)
I took both editorials to school in the morning. Ben Flescher, ever encouraging, said we could post them on the wall outside our classroom, one in the morning and the other in the after- noon. It certainly made me write every day. It also made me read the newspaper every day to look for stories and form an opinion.
One of Dad’s favourite sayings was “it’s the truth that hurts,” so that’s what I called the editorial series. I wrote them for a few months before another opportunity presented itself.
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