Tuesday, June 07, 2005

On being a blogger and a journalist

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The cartoon with today's blog comes courtesy of Bob O'Hara in San Diego, an amigo from San Diego, Mexico, and now San Diego again.

Bob is a two-boat owner: a sailboat in Mexico and a powerboat in San Diego. He winters in Mexico and summers in San Diego. (Can seasons be verbs?) In just a few weeks, he'll be in France aboard a friend's canal boat, cruising for croissants. Will there be a third boat in Bob's future? Not if his wife Karen gets a vote. (Now that I think about it, she gets two votes... Soooooo no boat, I fear.)

But the cartoon is very clever because it gets at an issue that both bloggers and journalists kid about all the time.

I do this blog (and The Class of '66) daily, but I also write every day for two publications: one on education, the other on health care. When I talk to my editors in Washington, D.C., they sometimes ask me how the commute was that morning.

I turn from my desk and look back about 15 feet to the edge of bed and always answer the same way.

"It was brutal today, just brutal."

A lot of writers and journalists say they are unable to work at home - too many damn distractions. And there are times when I would rather be stepping out the back door and headed down to the jogging path or the river, not noodling about stem cell research or textbook companies. But every day that I can simply start writing from this computer at this desk - and not get in a car - I guesstimate that I save at least 1-2 hours per day in travel time.

Even going to the university to teach (in the fall months only, thank you very much) takes 15 minutes, and then I have to walk from the parking lot, go up the elevator, down the hall... You get the idea.

Two hours - one-twelfth of your entire day.

I'll hang out in my PJs and write at home anyday. But when I do go down to the Legislature, I do put on my Clark Kent outfit (complete with glasses, but sans the ugly chapeau) and get caught in the real brutal traffic snarls of Sacramento.

Just not very often, thank God.

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