Still Raking Muck 25 Years Later
The Pine Log, my old college newspaper, blogged about me today and made me feel special.
Last Friday I spoke to young writers at the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association’s annual conference in downtown Fort Worth, where I ran into Pat Spence, the student adviser at my alma mater Stephen F. Austin State University. We haven’t seen each other since 1985 when I was editor of the school paper and she was a graduate student.
Spence sat in on my TIPA discussion and we had a pleasant but brief talk afterward. Here are a few excerpts from her blog that touched me or cracked me up:
“So here’s what I remember about Jeff—He was quiet but funny, more serious about his writing than he seemed to be about his studies, hard-living and hard-partying, passionate about the truth, quirky but cute. He had a personal style defined by monogrammed button-down shirts, never his actual monogram, and ragged jeans. When I asked him about the mismatched monograms, he grinned and told me he bought the shirts at Goodwill.”
“He took his job as Pine Log editor seriously and wasn’t afraid to push the envelope.”
“After his graduation, he worked for a time at the Lufkin Daily News, and then we lost track of him. At one point, someone heard he was painting houses in Fort Worth. I don’t know if it was true, but it broke my heart. I remember thinking, “What a waste of talent.” I worried about whether he was drinking too much or whether he had ‘fallen on hard times,’ as my grandmother would have said.”
“Then, around the early 2000s, his byline surfaced (thanks to Google) at the Fort Worth Weekly. According to its website (www.fwweekly.com,) the Weekly “provides a vibrant alternative to the city’s often-timid daily, with award-winning and irreverent reporters who keep readers well informed and the powers-that-be worried.” That’s it, I thought, a great fit for Prince. Alternative, irreverent, worrisome to the powers-that-be. All that sounded familiar and right.”