Wednesday, October 10, 2007

City Officials Deny Leaf Habit

Here I am in my hidey hole and I forgot to bring the magic cord that sucks the pictures out of my camera and squirts them into my blog. So the photo of the vandalized bike will have to wait till tomorrow, sorry.

Meanwhile, my article about dead leaves came out in yesterday’s Portland Tribune. It’ll be in the stands till the wee hours of Friday morning, at which point Tuesday's will be replaced by the Friday issue. Be forewarned that it’s not as peppy and fun as the way I originally wrote it. It ended up being heavily edited, for the following dumb reasons.

I interviewed a wide variety of official people for the story, not one of whom said there was anything wrong with raking your yard leaves out into the street in anticipation of Leaf Day. Then, the day I submitted the story, they posted on their website the words “Do not rake the leaves from your yard onto the street.”

That’s not what they had told ME. Nay, friends. Even when I specifically asked, they said, yeah, everyone does it, that’s fine. But then when this new Leaf Denial came to light -- after I’d signed off the story and was no longer available -- my editor felt she had to go in and make major changes. boo, hiss.

Ok, so here’s my fabulous opening, as I originally wrote it:

The Life and Death of Leaves

You know Leaf Day’s coming to the ‘hood when it’s getting on past dusk and you hear the scrape, scrape of a whole block full of people out raking their leaves into long snakey piles in the street. Sometimes accompanied by the smell of smoke curling out of the chimneys and a chill in the air, it’s a delicious bite of the essence of fall – at least until the power-toy neighbor (we all have one) turns on his loud, smoke-belching leaf blower, at which point the whole ambience is essentially ruined. But barring that, the common goal of clearing the overwhelming layers of dead leaves brings out the neighbors out in droves.

If you want to read the complete, but watered down version, you’ll find the published story here.


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