Friday, April 9, 2010

Take Your Time Forming That Opinion...

Know what an Opinion Shaper is? It’s a person who gets to write a column for our local community weekly newspaper 3-4 times a year. It’s a lot of fun—it’s like blogging, in a way, because, to quote my daughter one more time, you get your stuff out there.

So I’m one of the Opinion Shapers for our West County Journal, and the newly minted team for the coming twelve-month period met Tuesday night. We got our new publication schedule for the year, and had our mug shots taken.

We met our new editors (yes, there’ve been shake-ups at this paper, too, since last year.) Ten out of the twelve Opinion Shapers were veterans; some of us have done this for five or six years, one guy’s been at it for fifteen!

We went around the table introducing ourselves. One of the newbies remarked that she was really impressed to be a part of this group of writers. I felt compelled to relate an anecdote I read many years ago, when I had recently moved away from San Francisco.

A quirky, intellectual professor of English at San Francisco State, Hayakawa was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976. After about a year in Washington, he was quoted as saying, “When I first came here I was in awe of the 99 peers I sat among in this august body. Now I’m embarrassed to be one of them.”

Okay, I couldn’t find the exact quote, but that was definitely the message. So I told Miss Newbie not to be overly impressed by us, and that a year from now she may feel very differently about her cohorts.

The editors looked at each other nervously. Maybe they were wondering whether there will be a next year…

Senator Hayakawa


  1. Hey Leah! As I creep ever closer to my first anniversary on my blog, I wonder about just this sort of thing; how has the journey seemed to those who read it? My own expectations have adjusted a lot, so it's natural that theirs have too. Anyway, thanks for this entry, I'll file Senator Hayakawa's thoughts for future misuse. Indigo

  2. After they published us today, I looked up your blog and happened to notice this entry. As the Miss Newbie of the article, I suppose you'll have a chance to ask me at the end of our year long adventure together how I feel about you all. So far, the company I keep looks good--even if the competition wasn't exactly stiff this time around. (Shh..I'm still keeping that little secret to myself.)