Tuesday, June 09, 2009

An orange-and-white afternoon

Tom Mattingly has some good advice for would-be writers.

Use more periods than commas.

Indeed. My version of it is to "think more Hemingway and less Faulkner." Don't write three page sentences, in other words. Three word sentences are much better.

Mattingly spoke this morning to a group of high school interns we're hosting at the newspaper this summer. He has become known as the Vol Historian. He's written a couple of cool books (including that sweet UT Vault thing), posts a daily blog on the News Sentinel Web site and writes a weekly column on UT football history.

Tom says a big chunk of publishing is getting lucky. Being in the right place at the right time. He should know. Tom is the only writer I know who received a five-figure advance for a book without having written a word. Perchance to dream. A wave and a handshake led to the official Peyton Manning biography endorsed by Peyton's dad Archie. Which meant that Tom received permission to use a lot of cool photos.

Tom is a great guy. Go buy one of his books. You can find them at Borders or Books-A-Million here in Knoxville. I'm sure they are on the Web, too.

Later in the day, Powell editor Greg Householder and I took the interns over to the UT campus. Marketing guy Doug Kose showed us around the ultra cool Pratt Pavilion, Thompson-Boling Arena and the Neyland-Thompson Sports Complex. From there, we ducked into Stokely Athletic Center, that endangered species that holds so much history, to hear Halls guy Bud Ford talk about media relations.

Mattingly had said I needed to ask Bud about winning a Chevrolet Camero in 1969 at a football game. Bud did. He said it was an orange-and-white deal. He later wrecked it. Bud laughed when I asked him about it and said, "It was a long time ago."

Don't tell anybody, but I had as much fun as the interns did this afternoon. Maybe more.

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