background

PreAmble

Every part of this magazine has a word count, from this column (500 words) to Class Notes (23,000). And if you’ve ever seen a little kid, pencil in hand, scrunch the last few words of his story into the bottom corner of his paper, you know that it’s never easy to fit all your words.

Sometimes cutting words to fit the space is like sanding butter. Other times it’s like being in a crowded lifeboat and choosing which good words to deep-six.

Writer Victoria Tilney McDonough ’87, in her profile of Peter O’Shea ’88, co-designer of the free-speech monument in Charlottesville, Va., got this great quote from O’Shea’s collaborator, Robert Winstead: “Pete thinks by making. I have watched in amazement as he generated incredible designs with a lump of red clay or a scrap of plywood, or with chalk on a sidewalk. He has the raw talent, but he also has a passion and drive to make the world a better place. I always appreciate his lack of hesitation in the face of complex problems.” But you won’t see it in her story.

I wrote an item about how Professor of Theater Paul Kuritz casts a play, in this case The Contrast, but couldn’t include his answer about how the 18th-century play would be costumed: “Beautifully,” he said, with clothes on loan from Colonial Williamsburg, thanks to costume designer Christine McDowell’s connections with the living museum.

The photo essay on President Hansen and junior Meg Creedon’s job switch had little to say about Creedon, who has used Bates as a platform from which to launch her self-designed major in the “ecology of human identity development.” Simply but complexly put, she wants to know “what makes a person become who they are.” She’s already earned three Bates grants for off-campus projects including one to study at Cloud Forest School in Costa Rica and one for a fellowship at the Heifer Project International farm in Rutland, Mass. Right now, she’s in Peru volunteering at a children’s medical clinic.

Staff writer Doug Hubley, who wrote the Quad Angles item on Lew Turlish’s jazz-flavored reminiscences of the 1950s, would liked to have explained the talk’s setting: the Lunch and Learn series. Classically egalitarian, it features staff and faculty sharing expertise in everything from the stock market to fly fishing. (Psych professor Kathy Low’s session on mood disorders was SRO.)

Also not making the cut was one option for this issue’s Quiz: Name the Lewiston cop with whom Bates Student reporter Jon Hall ’83 — now an anchor-reporter with Boston’s NBC affiliate — spent a night in 1982 on patrol in a Chrysler K-Car cruiser? That would be Tom Carey ’73, then a Lewiston sergeant, later with the FBI for many years, and now Bates’ security chief. “We give [students] the benefit of the doubt when things get out of control,” he said in ’82. “You don’t want to give someone a criminal record over something…short term in duration.”

Short is right: this makes 499 words.

H. Jay Burns, Editor jburns@bates.edu


Comments are closed.