I Became A Columnist

Below is a letter I wrote accepting to be a columnist with Thenetng. It was published.

Dear Editor,

I’m worried about your request for a weekly column. I’ve restrained, as tempting as it is, from querying you over it. This article, one of what you hope will be a constant, has self-destruct in ways that can only be imagined. Like anyone afflicted with the curse of writing, I’ve attempted this piece with much procrastination, plenty of pruning and other evil manifestations of writer’s block. Perhaps you can relate with this although I imagine you’re reading this in the company of coffee or vodka, in a roomful of papers and books, and darting your eyes across words in the true style of an editor.

How you arrived at inviting me to take this challenge is baffling. But if you deem it a risk worth taking, we both might as well have an understanding on how best to work together. We should not pretend that this would be an easy relationship. Media history, or more broadly, the writing profession, is sated with stories of animosity, some of them epic, between creators of contents and editors of contents. The editors, being gatekeepers, have notoriously won because the ultimate judgment in publishing rests in their hands.

So two humans with no rift between them have contracted themselves to feed a reading audience and to do so while disagreeing on the predications of opinions, stylistics, American or British English, and enduring the tyranny of dangling modifiers, the silliness of hasty generalizations, and as this ending suggests – the mischiefs of punctuation; marks.

(Go on. Exercise your power on that blunder, will you?)

We will differ over the weirdest of things like the choice of headlines – something I’m quite finicky about, or on deadlines. Deadlines, especially, might be our undoing, depending on how crazy we drive each other. Really, it will be futile to subject me to time regimentation. I assume we are citizens of the same country, and so can both relate to the demands of daily survival, which shall guarantee my excuses for not meeting deadlines. For your own sake, send me reminders cautiously. It’s very likely that your promptings will come while I’m dealing with some national afflictions like aching news stories, imbecilic leadership, or other instantiations of our collective woe. If your reminders coincide with these, I will consider them an assault on my humanity, an offence punishable by longer delays.

This whole column business should be easy, I hope. The world has never ceased to provide fodder for commentary. 

I take pleasure in knowing you didn’t place limitations on what I should write about or proclaim a pesky legislation as to word count. It indicates the largeness of your heart. I hope this magnanimity will ensure that certain topics are not going to be considered too risky for publication, however you define what is risky.

Whatever, let’s annoy each other and entertain the readers.

Chris Ogunlowo