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Confessions Of A "Colyumist"
by [?]

But it is fun. One never buys a package of tobacco, crosses a city square, enters a trolley car or studies a shop-window without trying, in a baffled, hopeless way, to peer through the frontage of the experience, to find some glimmer of the thoughts, emotions, and meanings behind. And in the long run such a habit of inquiry must bear fruit in understanding and sympathy. Joseph Conrad (who seems, by the way, to be more read by newspaper men than any other writer) put very nobly the pinnacle of all scribblers’ dreams when he said that human affairs deserve the tribute of “a sigh which is not a sob, a smile which is not a grin.”

So much, with apology, for the ideals of the colyumist, if he be permitted to speak truth without fear of mockery. Of course in the actual process and travail of his job you will find him far different. You may know him by a sunken, brooding eye; clothing marred by much tobacco, and a chafed and tetchy humour toward the hour of five P. M. Having bitterly schooled himself to see men as paragraphs walking, he finds that his most august musings have a habit of stewing themselves down to some ferocious or jocular three-line comment. He may yearn desperately to compose a really thrilling poem that will speak his passionate soul; to churn up from the typewriter some lyric that will rock with blue seas and frantic hearts; he finds himself allaying the frenzy with some jovial sneer at Henry Ford or a yell about the High Cost of Living. Poor soul, he is like one condemned to harangue the vast, idiotic world through a keyhole, whence his anguish issues thin and faint. Yet who will say that all his labour is wholly vain? Perhaps some day the government will crown a Colyumist Laureate, some majestic sage with ancient patient blue eyes and a snowy beard nobly stained with nicotine, whose utterances will be heeded with shuddering respect. All minor colyumists will wear robes and sandals; they will be an order of scoffing friars; people will run to them on crowded streets to lay before them the sorrows and absurdities of men. And in that day

The meanest paragraph that blows will give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for sneers.