So it comes to this. In the final issue of this year’s The Lawrentian, I find myself reviewing the experience of writing for the Opinion/Editorial section.
I do so to not only to bolster my prodigious hipster cred through writing about writing but, more importantly, to contribute to my stipend check.
What has been most rewarding in writing articles? Is it the cathartic expression of anger? As my official and unofficial editors have known, sometimes it has been all too easy for me to wax choleric in the first draft of many pieces.
Yet many things bother me — “The Daily Show” as an acceptable personal political ideology, smokers, late-night and over-indulgent interlopers, matching ties and pocket squares and — most of all — the self-righteous attitude that writers, including myself, adopt.
I have neither the time, interest nor ink to write an editorial every time something attracts my ire. Also, I would imagine that the readers of this section would find it rather boring.
Have I used this opportunity to unabashedly revel in my own verbosity?
However, what I have found most rewarding is, metaphorically speaking, to change the focus of the camera.
While it has been tempting at times to get paid for writing pieces that are all about me, such as complaining about the various things which annoy me in Memorial Hall, I cannot help but feel a burden lifted from my mind when my eye shifts outward.
It seems petulant to whine about the larcenous book store or the obscene utility of the building when I wander into the corner quietly bearing the names of Lawrentians who died in battle from the Civil War to the conflict in Vietnam.
They have been largely forgotten. I am left with many questions.
Did Lawrence students fight for both the Union and the Confederacy? Has no one given their lives following Vietnam? Why have the university and its students deigned to efface them? Is it inevitable that the Present will never cease to inflict damnatio memoriae on the Past?
The only answer I or any other pilgrim will find are fading gold names and class years on dark wood. The only explanation is a bronze wreath of bamboo and oak.
This is why I have written. The greatest reward has been to keep myself from overinflating the “issues” of my day, whether it is an LUCC election, a legal search of SigEp or khaki-bashing townies in PT Cruisers.
Writing for this section has helped me put my years here in broader context, made classmates of those long-dead, and admitted me to the many Lawrences of the past.
Ideally, my articles have provoked a passing thought or two, raised an alternate perspective, or prompted a reconsideration of a prematurely-formed opinion. It is my fondest hope that those of you who can, will write, either in this publication or in the most private journal.
It is easy to get caught up in college and lose sight of one’s education. If I may invoke and slightly modify every graduation speaker who has ever collected an honorarium:
On the road of life, don’t forget to stop and skewer the daisies.