November 20, 2010

I'm not a journalist

There is a funny, cute story (a scrap) found by Mark Twain in Times, which had already been published in older, partial editions of his Autobiography, which I just read in the new, complete edition (pp.440-441). The story is well told and he uses it to say that he is not a journalist, and to elaborate on the difference between journalist and author. It was interesting for me, since I also work for media as a journalist, but I am not a journalist either. And yes, of course, I do not pretend to be Mark Twain.
Mark Twain giving a press conference while being sick in Vancouver



A benevolent-looking old man clung to a strap in a crowded Broadway car bound uptown Saturday afternoon. In a corner seat in front of him huddled a weak-looking little woman who clasped a baby to her breast. Beside her sat another child, a girl perhaps five years old, who seemed to be attracted by the old man's kindly face, for she gazed at him and the baby with her bright, intelligent eyes opened wide. He smiled at her interest and said to her:
"My! What a nice baby! Just such a one as I was looking for, I am going to take it."
"You can't," declared the little girl, quickly. "She's my sister."
"What! Won't you give her to me?"
"No, I won't."
"But," he insisted, and there was real wistfulness in his tones, "I haven't a baby in my home."
"Then write to God. He'll send you one," said the child confidently,
The old man laughed. So did the other passengers. But the mother evidently scented blasphemy.
"Tillie," said she, "shut up and behave yourself!"

"That is a scrap which I have cut from this morning's Times. It is very prettily done, charmingly done; done with admirable ease and grace -- with the ease and grace that are born of feeling and sympathy, as well as of practice with the pen. Every now and then a newspaper reporter astonishes me with felicities like this. I was a newspaper reporter myself forty-four years ago, and during three subsequent years -- but as I remember it I and my comrades never had time to cast our things in a fine literary mold. That scrap will be just as touching and just as beautiful three hundred years hence as it is now".


Yaotzin Botello said...

Bueno, podrías decir que eres periodista Y autor. O filósofo-periodista. O autor por placer y periodista para complacer. No sé, algo así. Usté no diga que no.

Enrique G de la G said...

Jajaja... ¡Buena! No era pedrada, no te sientas ofendido, Señorón.