One shoe off

September 12, 2007

The day after ….

Filed under: 9/11,blogging,journalism,media,writing — Liz @ 1:53 pm

Sept. 12, 2001 was a turning point in my life.

Sept 12, 2oo1 was the day that my first issue of The Bison came out. I’d been roped into editing the paper by some well-intentioned professors who thought that, in the absence of a journalism major who could do the job, an English major who could write well would be a suitable substitute. I came on board two days before the second issue of the semester. One day before the paper came out, Sept. 11 happened and I fell head over heels in love with newsprint.

We put the paper to bed that Tuesday and I went over to my parents’ house. They were sitting in the living room watching the news. They had gone out a bought a t.v. that day.

My first-ever editorial ran Wednesday. I remember referencing Don DeLillo’s Mao II. By some immense irony we had discussed the novel — which among other things talks about how terrorism shapes current reality in the same way fiction once did — in class the day before the attacks. I remember saying something about not letting fear take us over. I like to remember myself making some kind of statement calling for a response that didn’t involve war, but I haven’t read that piece in years (I don’t even know if I have it in my files anymore) so I’m not sure if I did or not. (Maybe I’ll take a drive down to Shawnee and visit the archives and pull that issue out.)

Why does this all come to mind now? Is it because I’m back in Oklahoma again, like I was in 2001? Is it because I’m writing again — and will be on a regular basis, the way I was during my tenure as editor? Is it simply because the days of the week coincide? Because we once again had a Tuesday, Sept. 11? And a Wednesday, Sept. 12?

I think that recalling that column is a suitable prologue to this blog. Looking back through the lens of what I have done since then, the columns I wrote as editor of the Bison were my first attempts at theological reflection. At a university where so many people lived according to a theological framework which was rapidly losing relevance for me, I needed a venue to try out all my new thoughts. Without fail I impressed my professors and bored my peers. On occasion I angered the administration, but not nearly as much as I wish I had. Regardless, “99.44” (as my column was called) saved my life that year.

(Editor’s note: Big fancy prize if you figure out what “99.44” refers to).

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4 Comments »

  1. 99.44% pure Ivory soap?

    Comment by Mark Winters — September 13, 2007 @ 11:13 am | Reply

  2. ding ding ding! You’re right. The name of the op-ed section was “The Soapbox”. My column was “99.44,” we ran a pro-con piece every week called “Soapbox Derby,” our letters to the editor were called “Soap on a Rope.” It was very corny, but we had fun with it.

    Comment by Liz — September 13, 2007 @ 2:04 pm | Reply

  3. I knew the meaning of 99.44, but I had an in with the Bison adviser at that time, so I suspect my participation in the competition for said “big fancy prize” would be disqualified…..

    Comment by KST — September 14, 2007 @ 10:38 am | Reply

  4. i also knew the meaning of 99.44, but having an in w/ the editor, i’m sure also disqualifies me for said prize.

    wasn’t there also some shameless hussy of questionable social values and theology that wrote a guest editorial column entitled scrubbing the bubble?

    ivory soap and scrubbing bubbles…what geeks those bison staffers were!

    Comment by Estellita — November 25, 2007 @ 5:11 pm | Reply


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