• Paperboy

    by David Lacy

    “I don’t know what your generation’s fascination is with documenting your every thought but I can assure you, they’re not all diamonds. ‘Roman is having an OK day, and bought a Coke Zero at the gas station. Raise the roof.’ Who gives a rat’s ass?” – Mr. Griffith, The Easy A

    I used to joke that my life was like The Truman Show. Before Facebook, and even before Myspace, I had a weekly column in a daily newspaper in a college town. The column, “Growing Younger,” was primarily a lifestyle feature; I preferred to write on topics I had encountered in my own life, such as relationships and family, as well as issues pertaining to self-esteem and self-worth (two things I struggle with).

    In many ways my column resembled the growing “field” of blogging (I began the column in 1998), except that I always did my best to ensure I wrote about an issue or experience only after I had had some time to reflect on it. I couldn’t stand those “writers” who went on rants based on present emotions, emotions they would frequently regret later.

    Interestingly enough, I learned later that one of my greatest writing mentors – fellow iPinion columnist Debra DeAngelo – had also experienced these Truman-esque feelings. She also resides in a small town, but had even greater print success, becoming syndicated in literally dozens of national newspapers, and nabbing several prolific awards. Debra doesn’t think, she knows, that everyone in her community is aware of who she is, and she can barely walk down the street without being accosted by readers. Anonymity in her world is impossible.

    In 2003, “Growing Younger” won “Best Column” in the California Newspaper Publisher’s Awards (the most prestigious state awards, in which nearly ever print news publication in California participates), and I instantly felt that my first-hand observations and reflections had been legitimized. When I began a new column earlier this year with iPinion, I sought to replicate the style and format of the weekly feature that had “trademarked” the conclusion of my journalism career. I returned to opining on the complexities of this crazy thing called life and did my best to make sure I only put forward information I had “censored” through my frontal cortex.

    And then, suddenly and abruptly, I had something really worth writing about.

    My life took a serious and sharp turn for the worse this summer, and I was immediately handed a shitload of emotion and feeling to sort through and analyze. I instantly did the only thing I knew how to do when confronted with tremendous uncertainty … I wrote. I vomited thoughts onto the Word Document file. I wrote possibly the most emotional column I have ever written in my life.

    I was about to post this passionate maelstrom to iPinion – ready to reap the fruits of my cognitive labor — when I instantly felt slightly nauseous. I literally doubled over for a moment, feeling like I was going to throw up. After a few minutes of gasping at air, I decided to send the column to two of my best friends, as well as the one person who has had the most impact in my life to date.

    None of them wanted me to run the column.

    My two best friends warned me that I was treading into “reactionary” territory; the third person said I could run it if I wanted (she wouldn’t stop me), but that she was extremely uncomfortable with the piece.

    It was too raw. It was too present.

    It was exactly the sort of public writing I hated.

    I spent the next two months paralyzed with writer’s block. This single issue was the only thing I wanted to write about but I knew I couldn’t. I knew that the one thing consuming my every waking thought would be the one thing I couldn’t expose to the world.

    Not like this anyway. Not in this fashion.

    I return to iPinion after a two-month writing hiatus, uncertain of how I should proceed. I am a different person than I was at the start of the summer, but I don’t know that I’m ready to share with all of cyberspace just who this new David Lacy is.

    I return to iPinion as a writer who wants to share everything, but is scared as hell of exposing anything.

    I return a blank page.


      • Kevin

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:22 am
      • Reply

      Good to read you again David! I know that you’ll be able to figure out the best way to keep writing. You’re to good not to.

      Your fb says you’re still up. GO TO BED! I’m working right now so I don’t have a choice in the matter.

      Oh, and I got a Droid. Do you hate me?

      Monday, October 11, 2010 – 03:36 AM


      • David Lacy

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:22 am
      • Reply

      Thank you. Is this Kevin Tapia or Kevin Tanaka?

      Monday, October 11, 2010 – 03:44 AM


      • Mike Finnegan-Collins

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:23 am
      • Reply

      Hey Mr. Lacy,

      I used to read your column pretty regularly and I actually remember when you came to speak about your experiences at Davis High School about your struggles with male anorexia. I ended up emailing you at one point in my senior year because I was so relieved to have found one other guy who had gone through what I had done through/was going through.

      I just want you to know that many people draw strength from your writing. If you think it was best that you keep that particular column close to your chest then that’s probably the best decision. But just know that there are those of us who are to read you regularly and consistently, even if you did write about buying a Coke Zero at the gas station.
      Monday, October 11, 2010 – 06:00 AM


      • Amy Ferris

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:23 am
      • Reply

      David:
      I think you’re one of the most extraordinary men & human beings & while I have you … writers i have ever met. your honesty and heart seem to blend and it’s just so heard to tell the difference, and i for one would love you to write a book.
      color my crazy but i think that maybe we could all frickin’ benefit from your life, your experiences, your truth, your heart. YOUR SOUL.
      my Opinion, of course…

      Monday, October 11, 2010 – 07:04 AM


      • Kimberly

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:24 am
      • Reply

      I love this. What are the rules on posting this to a writing forum I participate in?

      And The Easy A was great.

      Monday, October 11, 2010 – 07:13 AM


      • Hollye Dexter

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:24 am
      • Reply

      David,

      I can completely understand how self editing has created a writer’s block. I have found from my own experience that telling the truth, as long as it is ours to tell, is a liberating experience. I have connected on such a deep level with so many people, and am writing freer than ever. Only you can determine what you are willing to share, and when you’re ready to do it. But I’m all for telling the truth.

      Monday, October 11, 2010 – 10:20 AM


      • David Lacy

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:25 am
      • Reply

      Thanks you guys.

      @Kimberly: Whether columns or photography can be posted on other sites is up to each individual member of iPinion. For me, I have no problem if you’d like to post this onto a forum page. Please just make sure my name is on it, anything in italics remains in italics, and that you put Copyright iPinion 2010 somewhere on the same page/site.

      I appreciate it getting spread around though!

      Monday, October 11, 2010 – 10:58 AM


      • Sarah

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:26 am
      • Reply

      Truman,

      I still have my little “Growing Younger” booklet they were selling at the front office of The Davis Enterprise. It’s been fun watching you grow up both in real and written life.

      Monday, October 11, 2010 – 12:01 PM


      • Natalie Williams-Munger

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:26 am
      • Reply

      I completely see your point in this – I can remember times late at night typing furiously just to get ideas out of my head only to delete them later less someone come upon them accidentally. Or even writing a long comment on someone’s Facebook post and then not posting; you get a small release without having to set off any debates (don’t you love those?).

      When everything we do is online, restraint is a strange feeling; there is either total intimacy with telling people the minute details or your life or a complete lack of it, becasue nothing is too “deep.” I used to have an anonymous blog that I would rant on occasionally, like somehow having it out there was better, even though (thankfully) no one knew it was me or probably even read it.

      I wish you luck with the writer’s block, and hope that you keep writing, even if it’s only about your cat!

      Monday, October 11, 2010 – 12:43 PM


      • Matt

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:27 am
      • Reply

      Hey David,

      Have you seen The Social Network? There’s a great blogging scene in the first 10 minutes. Not that I’m comparing you to that tool.

      Great column. Keep it up.

      Monday, October 11, 2010 – 01:07 PM


      • David Lacy

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:27 am
      • Reply

      Well said Natalie (and congratulations again on your recent academic success).

      I could certainly write about Kat. She’s easily more famous than I am — especially with everyone in the neighborhood (she likes to lounge in the window).

      Monday, October 11, 2010 – 01:49 PM


      • Amy C

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:28 am
      • Reply

      I’m not a big fan of blogs, although it seems like the line has been blurred significantly between blogging and online journalism. I haven’t read your columns since your newspaper days but I have enjoyed reading your work on Ipinion. They don’t seem like blogs at all; they seem like columns.

      Monday, October 11, 2010 – 06:55 PM


      • Kira

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:28 am
      • Reply

      Welcome back!

      I know I’m privy to your particular situation but I still can’t imagine the intensity of the emotions. I look forward to discovering who the “new” David Lacy is.

      Are you in NorCal next weekend?

      Monday, October 11, 2010 – 07:39 PM


      • spring

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:29 am
      • Reply

      It’s good to read your work again, David. I think you’re doing exactly the right thing, writing while everything is raw and immediate…then giving yourself some time before sending it out into the world. The balance between capturing the intensity of now, and the insight of later is an excellent skill to hone.

      Monday, October 11, 2010 – 08:25 PM


      • David

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:29 am
      • Reply

      Thanks you guys. I really mean that.

      Monday, October 11, 2010 – 09:11 PM


      • Donald

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:30 am
      • Reply

      David,

      I see that you have a large support group so I’ll just give you two items of wisdom.
      1. get druck
      2. chase druken women.
      Life goes on and this is your first day so pick yourself up, go out, and have a hell of a time. I have wasted so much of my life, don’t follow suit. Of course you’re smarter than I was.
      Great column, saying something without really saying it.

      Tuesday, October 12, 2010 – 06:54 AM


      • Debra

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:30 am
      • Reply

      WOW. First off, thanks for your kind words. You might be surprised to know that you inspire me too!

      Secondly… things that are too hot to touch can cool off, and you end up writing a better column later on. Some things never cool down. It’s not that you shouldn’t write about something… it’s about taking the time and allowing the distance where you have perspective. The fact that you are having the urge to write again may be signaling that you are ready.

      GREAT column. Welcome back!

      Tuesday, October 12, 2010 – 07:50 AM


      • David L

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:31 am
      • Reply

      Thank you very much Debra. I appreciate that.

      Donald, you’ll be in the next rotation of new columns.

      Tuesday, October 12, 2010 – 08:19 AM


      • Adeel

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:31 am
      • Reply

      Donald says it all. I have nothing to add.
      Especially the last line. This column packs a punch precisely for that reason.

      Tuesday, October 12, 2010 – 08:20 AM


      • Anonymous

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:32 am
      • Reply

      David,
      Ditto to Debra’s comments. Do you realize how many people are inspired by you? Not just your friends who love you. You spark people to think outside their own little world and grow. I love reading your columns, you make me think and get the prospective of the younger generation. Besides all that I just think you are one terrific writer and all around great guy. I hope you kept the ‘raw’ writings just to reflect at a much later date (when your my age.LOL). Welcome back, you have been missed.

      Tuesday, October 12, 2010 – 08:24 AM


      • AMadgew

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:32 am
      • Reply

      Had no idea you had such a following David. I love all your rants and emotions and love on Facebook so I am sure I will love all your writing on Ipinion. I write from my heart and soul as well and it works for me. I think it works for you too.

      Tuesday, October 12, 2010 – 03:35 PM


      • Katie

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:33 am
      • Reply

      Who says you’re NOT on The Truman Show?

      Would you mind speaking up a little bit?

      😉
      Tuesday, October 12, 2010 – 03:41 PM


      • Amber

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:33 am
      • Reply

      We love you d’lace!

      Tuesday, October 12, 2010 – 06:00 PM


      • Brittney Sheldon

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:34 am
      • Reply

      I thought this was particularly topical. Blogs and social network communication have been around for awhile now obviously but it seems they’ve reached a state of hyperactivity lately. Someone else alluded to “The Social Network” and you quote a great line from “The Easy A.” Over-information has indeed reached a level of over saturation.

      Don’t worry about your own writing too much though. To me this reads more like reflective commentary. I haven’t read the columns from your print days but I believe you when you say you tried to avoid “reactionary” writing.

      I read your iPinion columns and love them. Keep it up. I hope some day we’ll be privy to what made your summer so emotionally significant, but if we don’t, well, it shouldn’t make or break any of us.

      Keep it up!
      Tuesday, October 12, 2010 – 06:45 PM


      • Kylie

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:34 am
      • Reply

      We love you David!

      Tuesday, October 12, 2010 – 08:43 PM


      • Sue

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:35 am
      • Reply

      I totally agree with spring and Debra – write raw, reflect, edit, and publish when you’re fairly sure it’s ready. Too many people publish raw and regret it mightily. You’re a great thinker and writer.

      Wednesday, October 13, 2010 – 10:01 PM


      • Sara

      • February 12, 2011 at 11:35 am
      • Reply

      I just read this (sorry I’m behind!)

      I remember your columns vividly David. And I love that you continue to write and share things with the rest of us.

      Hope you’re doing well.

      Cheers!

      Tuesday, October 26, 2010 – 06:50 PM



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