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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the Columnists.com, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern
Humorists.com
  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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Bye, Bye, Barry....
 

 

Bye, Bye, Barry, Goodbye

The biggest news to hit the humor world in a while was an unanticipated announcement by Dave Barry that he would be taking a leave of absence from his weekly humor column. He was not making this up.

To the journalist world this was as shocking as the Pope announcing he is taking an indefinite leave from the Vatican, or a veteran politician announcing that he is taking sabbatical leave from Congress.

Who is Dave Barry? Oh, I love you if you are reading my column and donít know the answer to that! He is the Miami Herald columnist who is kingpin, top banana, big cheese, head honcho, and the role model guru of the humor columnist world. All other humor writers are measured by how they compare to Dave Barry.

Guess that puts me so low on the totem pole that I donít even need to look for my yardstick.

Dave Barry is the only humor columnist EVER to win a Pulitzer Prize for writing, and he didnít even know he was running. Never mind that it was years ago. He still holds the championship humorist title, which is better than having first rights to the remote control.

Is he really that good - or that much better than the rest? Most of us donít think so, and wonder how 500 editors can be so wrong. On the other hand, it is nice that humor writing was once recognized as a worthwhile endeavor - even if only once.

Dave Barry broke the glass ceiling for humor writers and made it a worthwhile effort instead of an worthless endeavor. Because of him and a few other greats, such as Lewis Grizzard and Erma Bombeck, humor has become recognized as the artistic endeavor that it is, proving that our mothers were wrong and we are not hopeless losers who canít get a real job.

Many columnists write for nearly nothing just to get exposure. We hope the Miami Herald has a bulldozer and is ready for an avalanche of resumes. His absence will leave a great, gaping hole that other humor writers hope to fill with funny columns.

Thing is, no one can replace Dave Barry. Fact is, a writer worth their pencil lead doesnít want to. Writing is personal and individual. We each develop our own style if we ever hope to excel, and donít try to be just like someone else. No one has filled the hole left when Erma Bombeck died - though many are still trying.

Dave says he is worn out from covering the Democratic and Republican conventions, the Olympics, and going on a book tour all in one year. Poor baby! Most humor writers will never be sent anywhere by anyone to write humor about anything. But the thing is we will still write our humor. Writing humor isnít a choice. We do it because we have to.

So, goodbye Dave! Weíre going to miss you. We read you, we laughed with you, we loved you, we envied you, we admired you - and to tell the truth, we still do. But we can't help but think that without the syndicated domination of one person, maybe a bit of sunshine will fall on those who have been in the shadows, and who knows what creative talent may eventually bloom?

And if anyone out there knows an editor with a hole to fill where a syndicated column used to be - Iím available! When youíre not Dave Barry, you try harder. If you call and I donít answer, just leave a message. Iíll be out the back yard whittling a brand new totem pole.


Copyright 2004 Sheila Moss

 
 



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