Words, Words, Words
By Patrick F. Cannon
This is the 225th post in a series of essays I’ve written under the general title “Cannonnade.” The correct spelling should be “Cannonade,” but it wasn’t available because some knucklehead had already taken it. As far as I can tell, my first post was on November 10, 2015; I have not missed a week since.
That initial offering, Common Sense, ran to over 2700 words. I soon came to my senses, and the average piece since then has been about 600 words. In total, then, I have written some 140,000 words for “Cannonnade”, give or take. In addition, since 2006, I have collaborated with photographer Jim Caulfield on five books on Chicago architecture and architects (we are now working on number six). A rough estimate of the number of words in these, including captions, would be 150,000. I won’t even hazard a guess of the number of words in e-mails and letters involved in cajoling home and building owners to let us photograph their properties.
I retired from a career in public relations and communications in 2001. In the nearly 40 years I spent doing this, I wrote articles, press releases, brochures, speeches, and film and video scripts. At the end, I had entered the digital age and was writing content for a web site. I won’t even hazard a guess at how many words I spewed forth, but it must have been in the millions.
I turned 82 on Monday, and it occurred to me that what keeps me going is simply continuing to do what I have always done. Other than an occasional round of golf in good weather, I have no other hobbies. I don’t collect anything, and I don’t dress up as a super hero and attend conventions. I do volunteer. For more than 40 years, I have given architectural tours for the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. Indeed, doing so is what led to eventually writing my five books.
The retired people I know who are still vital and interesting are the ones who never stopped working or volunteering. There is something to be said for getting up every morning and checking the calendar to see what’s on that day’s schedule. This past Monday, in addition to my birthday, my calendar included a visit to the dentist, proving that you can’t win them all.
Before I get carried away with self-congratulation, I should also mention that I looked over some of my old pieces, and have to admit a few were a bit on the pompous side. Also, my political prognostications have proven defective. One of my first posts assured my readers that Donald Trump didn’t stand a chance of getting the Republican nomination. I went to great lengths to show how the math just didn’t add up for him. I failed to realize that he would continue to get the votes of his “base,” while too many of the “real” Republicans stayed in the race long enough to divide the vote until it was too late to stop him.
In the past week, it looks like the Democrats have come to their senses early enough to save the country from a Sanders/Trump race. But don’t count on it. Remember, you read it here!
Copyright 2020, Patrick F. Cannon