We all have our basic routines in the morning, right?
For as long as I can remember, my first step every morning has been to grab the newspaper, skim through headlines until I find the stories that seize my attention and rip through them. After I feel like I have a pretty good handle on what’s happening in the world, I move on to read the offerings from my favorite columnists.
This practice started long before I began to map out a personal career path in the world of journalism. As a kid growing up in Washington, D.C., I had the good fortune of having a talented field of columnists at my fingertips every morning via the Washington Post.
My first stop was often the prose of baseball writer Thomas Boswell, followed by the nostalgic musings of Shirley Povich and the harder-hitting efforts of John Feinstein. For a few smiles and laughs each morning, I would be greeted with the work of hometown-style writer Bob Levey or pre-ESPN Tony Kornheiser.
In short, it was a terrific glimpse into the world near and far through the eyes of some of the very best in the world to ply their crafts. There were many times I would consider what a wonderful job that must be — only having to come up with one original thought a day and having an open platform to basically say whatever you want. And money came with it!
I got my first experience writing a regular column in 1996, and from about my third effort I began to realize it wasn’t all sunshine and unicorns. For starters, it’s not easy coming up with a topic every time you are expected to do so without repeating yourself over and over again. I mean, how many times can one use the same catch phrase without people rolling their eyes and ...
But I digress.
Rolling your eyes? Perfect. Now you see what I mean. Though I’ve now become well-aware of what goes on “behind the curtain” of a columnist’s brain, my appreciation for the good ones has only grown. Now, with the power of the Internet in my fingertips, I have access to columnists from around the world, and there have been many I have found over recent years that I enjoy reading on a fairly-regular basis.
And I’ve also grown to really appreciate the work of some of the columnists in our area. Stewart Dobson’s efforts at Ocean City Today either make me laugh or seethe every week, and that’s just the kind of reaction a good columnist is striving for — to invoke something from the reader. Dennis Forney at the Cape Gazette has also become a regular read for me, as nobody can describe the natural beauty of this area the way Dennis can. And another one of my favorite columnists in the state for years has been Don Flood, formerly of the Dover Post, and now with Dennis at the Cape Gazette. Flood has always written with a folksy flair that I’ve admired, but manages to inject some sarcasm and strong opinions into his work.
So I was happy the other day when I was reading through some press releases that Flood has written a book. I was even happier to read that it is a thriller piece, loosely based on the legendary treasure of the HMS De Braak, a British ship that capsized in a storm near the mouth of the Delaware Bay in 1798. I’ve been fortunate to know Flood’s newspaper-heavy family for years now, and I know that he has always been exposed to many of these old Delaware stories through his father, a longtime journalist and printer in the state, himself.
The main character in Flood’s book is Amanda, a strong woman who utilizes whatever is at her disposal to come out on top.
“Amanda doesn’t best men through physical prowess, but she is a modern woman,” explained Flood. “She beats men the old-fashioned way: she flatters them, outsmarts them, outmaneuvers them, and she isn’t shy about exploiting her sex appeal to get what she wants.”
I’m certainly anxious to see where Flood takes this story. His ability to share humanism through his work has always impressed me, and I’ve watched him tell stories that contain many levels in a very clear way. This seems like a winning adventure to me.
The book, “The Wreck of the Nymph,” is now available at Amazon.com, and though I haven’t read it yet myself, I certainly plan to — if, for no other reason than I get the opportunity to enjoy how Flood strings his words together again.