"Everyone knows stories are imaginary. Whatever effect they might have on us, we know they are not true, even when they tell us truths that are more important than the ones we find elsewhere. As opposed to the story writer, I was offering my creations directly to the real world, and therefore it seemed possible to me that they could affect this real world in a real way, that they could eventually become part of the real itself. No writer could ask for more than that."
"The Locked Room" in The New York Trilogy

I don't want to give a lot of context here, because I don't think it is necessary. The opposition to a story writer being offered here is a census taker who makes up families for the forms. Without advocating fiction in newspapers (I do not advocate that at all), I was struck by the similarities between the needs of this census taker, and the needs of a journalist: the instant gratification of writing something that becomes reality, the dream of affecting change, the idea that newsprint is part of history, documents reality, and in that way makes it real (if no one reports it, if no one knows about it people can't talk about it, it fades into oblivion).

And in both the census taker's world and in the reporter's world, at the end of the day it is the act of writing rather than the linking of a name to the writing that is important. I think that most people who write for newspapers, and are committed to the newspaper they write for are as pleased--if not more so-- by the qualine that announces newspaper affiliation. To write the facts for print in a daily newspaper is to be part of something bigger than a byline.

Newspapers are ephemeral. Lots of famous editors will tell you that. People don't write for newspapers for posterity. For that you become a story writer. To write the facts for print in a daily newspaper is to somehow contribute to reality.

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Written Pyramids is a blog written by a journalist living and working in Washington D.C.

I have left my real name off of the blog so as not to imply that the blog is somehow linked with the journalism I get paid to do. (Still, I never write about my beat on this blog, and rarely express opinions about the day's news regardless of its relationship to my beat).

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Books pyramid image originally from the British website, Explore Writing.