If I could magically transform into the writer of my dreams, I would be a combination of Dave Berry, Peggy Noonan and Anne Lamont. Dave Berry is the master of the humorous essay. He takes miniscule kernels of everyday reality as mundane as pushing a stroller through a TSA line, having another birthday or driving from Miami to the Disney Kingdom only to wait in line longer than the drive. The kernel provides the launching pad from which he spins exaggerated descriptions and zany, unbelievable experiences into a written cotton candy, delightful to consume and yet with limited substance. Peggy Noonan, on the other hand, was President Regan’s primary speech writer and special assistant and is now a weekly political columnist for the Wall Street Journal. I do not share Ms. Noonan’s conservative viewpoint but I respect her political acumen and skill at developing a nuanced defensible position. She follows the political world closely and writes insightful analysis of U.S. politics. She can be critical but her criticism is based in fact. She is not reactionary or defamatory. She helps me keep a more open mind about the multifaceted aspects of political positions in a complex world. My final guru is Anne Lamott. Like Mr. Berry, she has a delightful sense of humor, like Ms. Noonan her work is grounded in reality but Ms. Lamott’s politics are progressive. Unlike the other two, Ms. Lamont flourishes when writing self-deprecating humor and social commentary. Much of her best creative work emanates from living through difficult circumstances including alcoholism, single motherhood, and depression. She is a survivor, sustained by more than a little help from God and proud of it. She provides an emotional connection to the reader that the other two are lacking. When I look at the qualities I admire in these three writers, I would be delighted if my blog:
- Made people laugh or at least have a better day,
- Provided insightful analysis of the political and social world in which we live,
- Was rooted in my personal experiences,
- Was written at the caliber to touch readers’ emotions,
- Explored and exhibited my strong spiritual core and
- Was engaging enough that readers looked forward to what I might write next.