On a recent Monday afternoon, USA Today columnist Craig Wilson visited students at American University’s Discover the World of Communication program to speak about column writing.
Wilson has written The Final Word, his weekly Wednesday column, for 16 years. He also writes features and book reviews for the national newspaper.
According to Wilson, one of the most important rules of column writing is to find your voice.
“You write like you talk,” Wilson said. “My columns sound like me. There’s a certain attitude.”
Wilson touched on a lot of important tips — among the most important is that columns should be timely and relate back to one’s town. This immediately got me thinking of my town, Brookline, Mass.
In Brookline there are two sections, North Brookline and South Brookline. Brookline students refer to these two sections as “NoBro” and “SoBro.”
Everything is in North Brookline. Everything. The high school, the majority of the elementary and middle schools, the majority of the stores, the pool, the reservoir, Coolidge Corner (the center of Brookline) and the Main Brookline Public Library.
South Brookline is stuck with a small strip of stores and one middle and elementary school, Baker School. It’s even more inconvenient because in order to go to high school ever yday, South Brookline students have to take the school bus, get a ride, take the bus and then the MBTA, ride a bike or walk the long walk to school. North Brookline students have the luxury of actually being in walking distances from the high school.
I used to live in North Brookline, but I moved to South Brookline at the end of 8th grade and I absolutely loathed it. It was far away from all my friends and I couldn’t just walk to places anymore. I often don’t like hanging out with friends after school because I know it’ll take a long time for me to get home to South Brookline.
Every day I would talk to my North Brookline friends and say phrases like “Sobro sucks” and “Sobro is in the middle of no where!”
The town can’t just move Brookline High School and everything else to a place closer to South Brookline. Life isn’t fair. That’s what I’ve learned. People tell you that you can do anything you want to if you can, but you can’t. Sometimes the best thing to do is just learn to adapt to where you are.
Every time I walk in to my painted lavender room, I remember that small, painted white room I had in North Brookline. Every time I walk in to the basement to run on the elliptical, I remember that an elliptical wouldn’t even fit in our old condo. Every time I eat in the dining room, I remember that our old place didn’t even have a dining room.
I feel at home.