Toddering dotterings … I so miss the words and the mind of an old master, his dribbling driblettes inside a daily column, journal entrys that we knew so well, Herb Caen. We haven’t had a columnist quite like him since, and will we ever? The chronicles that we read now tend to be snatches of digital information considered the best catch of the day from over the internet or newscasts gained from our pod casts, phones, radios and wireless gadgets while we perform our daily do list, hands-free, and sometimes mind-free. I wonder from day to day, will I ever get to enjoy sitting down at a table again with a steaming cup of Folgers, with the view of the Bay looking north and the Tommy Church designed garden to my back to read Herb’s nutshell news. Oh how I miss those days of seamless delight as I met up with my parents to enjoy brief quips of information, the Caen chuckle of the day, and with the day ahead, so much to do, so much to see, yet, all focus was on Herb’s satirical empathy as he coined his words and his one-liners that delivered succinct meanings. Now I log on to my computer early on, watch the market, check my mail, and frantically try to get the day started, especially, having to urge my teenager out of the sack and into the cocoon of the car for a last minute run down of the day ahead. Just a few years ago, perhaps now a decade, one got to gauge the upcoming day with Herb Caen’s rising mercurial sweep of his pen to scribble in a point taken or to unfurl a shrewd curve directed at the politics of the City camouflaged in layers of sardonic scathing. But you knew that all was in order because his sources were true, and his unique perception gleaned only the best of the best. We also got to know what the social scene was like the night before, and how I miss his particular conception of the City that sleeps by the bay. If we were to pick up the paper that he once journaled in hoping for some good writing, the writing isn’t as profound or as interesting as it used to be to read. How do we bring back that old fashion writing talent for the sake of words, or concise meaningful writing?
Copyright Helen Holden-Gladsky, 2010