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Ellen Mc Daniel Weissler | The chronicler’s eternal question: What to write? | Columns

I have thought long and hard about what to cover in my column this week.

Coming up with ideas is the hardest part of writing a column; the actual writing is child’s play! I don’t know how my mother managed for over 40 years without repeating herself. She must have led a more interesting life than me. And she didn’t have COVID to contend with. Plus, she was smarter.

I spend a lot of time thinking about my options. It turns out there were a lot of them this week.

The most obvious was the peculiar weather we have been experiencing lately. Spring is always changing, but this spring is just weird! First it’s in the 80’s, then we have the deepest snow of the year, then the temperature rises into the stratosphere. I could have written about it, and the valiant struggle that my early blooming flowers had to survive all that white stuff, in addition to being nibbled on by deer. But I decided that this subject was too banal, too exaggerated. Weather? Again? Whore !

So I considered writing about the war in Ukraine. I wrote a column about it before, and got a lot of positive feedback from it – but I’m supposed to write uplifting, humorous columns, and there’s nothing happy about war . Russia seems to be aiming to take over the world, now that it has Moldova as well as Ukraine in its sights, and the brave tenacity of Ukrainian civilians and military – well, that’s certainly no laughing matter . There is a certain “elevating” in the response from the rest of the world – but when you find yourself applauding the death of one group of people rather than the death of another group, or wishing earnestly that the dictator mad and tinned with delusions the deity behind the whole apocalypse would drop dead, it’s too much of a moral dilemma to laugh at. So nothing on the Ukrainian War column.

I could always fall back on inflation – that’s something we can all laugh at, right?


My husband is in the process of cutting up our old sectional sofa to put it in the trash, so we don’t have to pay to have it transported as an entire sofa. That’s because we’ve finally decided, after 26 years, that the old blue sofa (which looks like it came out of a landfill anyway!) needs to be replaced. But the old blue isn’t the one we’re getting rid of – it’s just moving to the basement. To replace the sectional, which we are cutting up. Do not ask. It’s not worth a column, believe me!

Another idea I had was to write about the fascinating new friend I made through Facebook. I’m not going to embarrass or endanger her by naming her, but she’s the most empowering, smartest, bubbly person I’ve met in long days. We enjoyed our online interactions so much that we decided to meet in person. I travel to Hagerstown once a month to visit him, and I look forward to those interactions more than I can say. I found a kindred spirit — and so did she, apparently.

But she’s dying of pancreatic cancer, so that’s not a very happy column either.

Then I thought, how about writing something about the intersection of religious holidays this year: Ramadan, Easter and Passover. Surely I could find something nice and fun to say about it? But by the time this column is published, Easter and Passover will be – well, over – and Ramadan will only be two or three days away, so my timely article won’t be so timely. Plus, none of these holidays are particularly funny – unless you want to hear again the story of my mother hiding the Easter candy basket by hanging it on a line in the laundry chute?

I did not mean it.

Another possibility would be the new method of mind control that I am trying to learn from a series of books. I hope to use this method to heal my knees, end the war in Ukraine, force Elon Musk to donate his billions to the poor, and get a part in a Broadway musical. Or at least find my car keys. But if I discuss the details of the method, someone might read the column and figure out a way to override my mind control — and I might find myself dancing Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at a strip club in Dubuque. . Which might be funny, but not for the audience.

There’s always the write-back about summer approaching, my sons’ attempts to get a job, the lemonade stand the kids across the street opened, Bella Moosie da Dawg being cute or my failed attempts to backtrack up to 40 laps a day in the pool. I could probably make any of those vaguely funny, but they all seem oddly familiar.

And then I thought, why don’t I write about my upcoming trip to Africa for my nephew’s wedding? But it might be better to write about it AFTER, so I actually have, you know, something to SAY about it!

And finally, I found the perfect one – the PERFECT column!

Only to find that I had run out of space…

Ellen McDaniel-Weissler is a freelance writer at LaVale. His column appears in the Times-News every other weekend.

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