Friday, July 07, 2006

I’m Baaaaach!

It’s that time of year again.

One of the local communities hosts a Bach Festival every summer, and it’s just around the corner. I don’t look forward to this event. In fact, I cringe just thinking about it. Don’t get me wrong; I mean I relish my fugues as much as the next person, but I just can’t tolerate the fervor surrounding the Bach Festival. And this year promises to take me even closer to what I dread, since I now work in newspaper.

Every year, the festival brings with it the most horrendous puns. There’s stuff like “Bach to the Future,” “I’ve Got Your Bach,” “It’s Bach On,” and, of course, “Bach and Roll.” Frankly, the puns are endless, simply endless. Have these journalists no shame??

As a poet, I run screaming away from cliché and the too-cutesy play with words that is the trademark of newspaper headlines. Once again, I find myself straddling worlds. I’ll admit it: I’ve used phrases like “pull out all the stops” in my articles. But I have my limits. My editor still makes fun of me because I insist on calling my proposed headlines “titles.” Tomato. Tomahto.

I know nothing about journalism. That is to say, I feel that my approach to my stories, most of which are previews of theater productions, is one that keeps me safely out of the hands of excessively formulaic writing. And I strive for accuracy at all costs. There was that little slip regarding “cannon” (as in “1812 Overture,” boom boom stuff), and “canon” (as in from the theatrical tradition), but once the initial mortification wore off, I was fine.

As time goes on, however, I’m concerned they’ll get to me. What if some day I’m assigned to cover an annual musical festival? What if the deadline is tight and I’m just strapped for ideas, all my creativity having drained away between the time the oatmeal hit the floor and the CDs were found in the bathtub? What if I cave? Who will be there to bring me Bach?


tracy said...

No you didn't.


Anonymous said...

Ah, yes! The annual "Bach-isms". Don't you agree that they're ever-so witty? I'm just glad that your blog is "Bach in action". ;) Ta!

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