One Year Later
Tuesday, September 4, 2012 • 6:11pm
Last August I embarked on a new adventure - writing a column under my own name. I have been a professional writer for the last 40 years, but most of my work has been attributed to someone else. I was the guy in the back of the
room, intently watching the speaker and mouthing the words as he or she said them. I was the person who wrote the employee newsletter or company press release but the quotes I formed were attributed to someone else.
I felt comfortable in my anonymous role. Ego had long since been pushed into a corner. Sure, I sometimes was hurt when the principal for whom I was writing, decided to change my elegant words into something, which in my mind was much less effective. And I had learned to chuckle when the words I wrote for someone became theirs and they even forgot that someone put those words in their mouth.
Then I started to write my little column for The Alternative Press. Though small and growing, it is my journalistic home. It is the place where I started my non-anonymous writing career. Christy Potter Kass, an accomplished writer in her own right, has been my editor and cheerleader from the beginning. She gave me encouragement and praise, both of which a newbie often need. Mike Shapiro, the publisher gave me recognition by making my column a regular one for his publication.
Christy was an invisible mentor for several months of my new-found vocation. Then, one afternoon, at a Martin Luther King luncheon, a woman whom I did not know walked up to me and introduced herself. It was Christy and we
bonded immediately. On that day, Christy told me she had submitted three of my columns to the New Jersey Press Association for an award. Ever cynical, I figured if I were really good, I would receive a second or third place award.
To my surprise, Christy called a few weeks later and said I had won First Prize. I was amazed. The following April, just a few weeks after I had back surgery, we drove to southern New Jersey to receive the award together. It was
wonderfully rewarding to be recognized along with the New Jersey Star-Ledger and Philadelphia Inquirer.
Over the past year, friends, family and acquaintances have been very generous with praise about my work. My confidence in my ability to tell a story about myself has grown and I believe my writing skills have improved significantly. Your encouragement has stimulated me to take risks and write about things I would never have ventured writing about before.
During this first year, I have learned that the more I take a risk telling stories about myself or my family, the more readers become engrossed. I have written about my grandparents, Army experiences and personal reflections. But lately I have had a dry spell. Maybe I am over-programmed, maybe distracted, but I think the problem is that I have held myself back. I have refrained from writing about controversial subjects because I haven't wanted to offend readers. Well, I think that will change in the coming year. I am going to write about things that concern me.
My next column will be about my reaction to the Republican and Democratic Conventions. Subsequent ones may focus on local, county and national politics.
Until then, I want to tell you how much I have appreciated your feedback over the past year and how much I am looking forward to a dialog over the next one.
Henry Bassman has written about high-technology and medical technology (biotechnology, medical devices and healthcare issues) for more than 40 years. He retired from AT&T, served in the U.S. Army where he became a captain and worked for ABC News. He is now affiliated with a small investment bank. Articles by Henry can be seen on ABCNews.com and other business Web sites. Henry has lived in Summit, NJ for 37 years and has been married for more than 40 years. He has three daughters who graduated from Summit High School.
The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TheAlternativePress.com or anyone who works for TheAlternativePress.com. TheAlternativePress.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.