Monday, April 16, 2007

The Writerly Life

The great Andrew Ferguson perfectly captures what life is like as a young writer in Washington:

Not long after I came to Wash ington to work as a junior editorial flunky, I went to a cocktail party at a think tank. (Attending cocktail parties at think tanks, I thought then, was one of the great perks of my job, which tells you all you need to know about the life of a junior editorial flunky.) There I met a fellow flunky--a flunkiette, you might call her, since she was even greener than I was, and much, much blonder. Her thankless job was to write speeches, op-eds, position papers, and other encyclicals under the name of the think tank's president. She was a ghost, in other words. A flunkiette ghost.

Comparing notes, we both mentioned our admiration for the wit, prose style, and intellectual range of a well-known newspaper columnist.

"He's the best," I said.

"Fabulous," she agreed.

Then, after a brief pause and a puzzled look, she said: "I wonder who writes his stuff."

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