Friday, February 1, 2013

And now, a personal note...

Yesterday, I left the newspaper where I "worked" for more than 30 years.

The Syracuse Post-Standard has stopped functioning as a daily. It now prints three days I week. I would tell you which days, but for a mental block. It hurts too much.

I can't complain. It was my choice. I left on my terms. I don't know what I'm going to do for a living. Something will emerge.

I don't know how this will affect the blog. Obviously, IT IS HIGH is what keeps me sane, because into it, I pour my daily insanity. I might post more often. Too often. If my next job - say, bagging groceries or MMA fighting - demands time, well - who knows? I sure don't. 

Also, let's face it: The 2013 Yankees look like one dim bulb of hope. If they're out of the race by August 1, I might find myself with nothing to say. (Or, hmmm, I might have a lot to say.)

Either way, it's a quandary - being old and officially out of work. I can't even work up a venomous hate for the old employer. My friends still work there. I made my choice. And this was no surprise. Four years ago, I saw it coming when I wrote this for Salon.

Something will emerge. I'm looking for the lifetime equivalent of an Aaron Small.

Oh well. Let the record show that on the day I left newspapers, the Yankees signed Travis Hafner. Omen?


Anonymous said...

Duque, you can write, and write well. As someone who has been employed in post-secondary education for more than three decades, trust me, there aren't many prose stylists on your level seeking employment. Professional writers, especially those with a wicked wit, will find takers, even in this market. Good luck!


Well, it is not an altogether fitting tribute, but I have bought Suzyn a copy of "The Juju Rules". Maybe others, such as Carl Pavano (he's got a lot of time on his hands now), will take this opportunity to buy your fine book as a gesture of appreciation of all the nice things you've said about us over the years. As a journalist, you understand that there's no such thing as bad publicity. That's why I love you, El Duque.

Brian Cashman said...

Call me. Come over to the Dark Side. You have the phone number.

John M said...

Shit. I'm a writer, too, Duque. And I'm making less money today than I was 15 years ago. I'm getting screwed by my employers (who I thought, at one time, were decent, honest, ethical men...shows you how wrong a guy can be) and made some mistakes to create an even worse financial situation for myself.

Anonymous up top here said that good writers find takers, even in this market. I don't know about that. When you're getting up near 60, you are not attractive to a lot of employers. If you were smart or lucky enough to be a published essayist, novelist or juju maven, maybe you have a bit of a better chance of finding a new paycheck. But I don't know.

I'm not exactly in your shoes, but damn close. People I've worked with and clients I've worked (or work) for tell me over and over what a talented writer I am, how fast I am on the uptake, how well I process wonky, esoteric information and turn it into websites, company pub articles, ads, what-have-you. One ex-co-worker was telling me the other day that, gee, it doesn't matter how old you are when you're such a good writer.

I'm not so sure of that anymore. I used to believe it. But there's something in the air, it smells like lox that's gone a bit off, and it's bad news for anyone over 50.

For both our sakes, I hope I'm really wrong about all this.

You know how LinkedIn has all of these groups for various industries and such? Maybe we should start a group for writers over 50 who find themselves in circumstances they never thought they'd be in. It can be like a gray-haired Mafia of witty wordsmiths who can maybe help each other out, or at least commiserate and curse those damn kids and their crappy social media, shitty almost-beards and 10-second attention spans.

Or maybe we just convene somewhere and drink a lot once in a while. Hey, Alphonso might be up for that.

el duque said...

John M,

I would love to have a beer with you, or 10. We could corner Alphonso and Mustang, I suspect. Somehow, someday, let's figure this out.

NRA Republican said...

i do hope to hear even more from the Mencken of the Yankees Universe. best of luck!!

Bye Bye Balboni said...

Duque, you know and I know that the Yanks can't survive the whole season with Cervelli and Stewart as their catchers. Strap on the gear and head over to Cash's office - after all, you're still younger than most of the roster.

And seriously, as an underpaid writer myself, I can't imagine there's anything I can do. But if there's anything I can do....

el duque said...

Hey, thanks for the support, but don't under any circumstances worry about me. I quit the place. They didn't downsize me. It's a long overdue change, and I'm fine with it.

Rufus T. Firefly said...


Wishing you all the best.

I do feel a bit sorry for you though. You live in the tundra.