A few weeks ago I started typing on one of my dad's old typewriters. The arms of each key on the Royal Arrow moved slowly, as if moving through molasses. My words tripped over themselves, caught in the machine's throat. Dust dulled the dark gray casing of the machine. Another typewriter sat on a table across the room. A portable Corona, its curved black shell was decorated with a gold-colored paint, although the decoration was muted somewhat by the years passed since the machine was owned by the journalist Melville Jacoby, a cousin of my grandmother's who died in an accident in the Pacific as he covered World War II. Also known as Mel Jack, I hope to share his story another time -- I only invoke him now because I can't help thinking about those machines, about what it feels to squeeze words onto those pages and what it feels like at this moment to string words across this screen.
As I typed on my dad's typewriter, it felt as if the keys shook off the years, stretching after a long slumber. They began moving with ever more ease, every more confidence. With them, my words arrived more readily and honestly.
So as I launch this publication I felt these thoughts come first in fits and starts. I distracted myself. I procrastinated until eventually I found my rhythm. Thinking less and feeling more, I found the words coming more quickly. Like the keys on the typewriter eventually had, my fingers moved more readily, more confidently. They found their pace as I found my groove.
I stopped worrying about design elements and readership and who my audience was, what they thought and why it mattered. I stopped worrying and pressed my fingers to the keys. I stopped worrying and felt. I stopped worrying and observed. I stopped worrying and wrote.
Launching this publication I think about these machines. So many people in my field -- loosely, journalism -- agonize over what to do next, what to do with this digital age. As we fret and flail we risk forgetting about the words we're stringing together, the information we're reflecting upon and sharing, and the stories we're telling. Whether breath on our lips, ink spread across a page, keys hammering into a ribbon or electrons running through a circuit, I'm concerned with how thoughts are captured, contained, altered and disseminated.
I don't believe it's true that journalism is dying. It is simply changing. Yet, too many people are trying too hard, throwing whatever they can at the wall until they see what sticks. This site will have two goals, to provide in depth, unrushed reporting and storytelling, and to serve as a central repository for my past writing and clips.
I want to offer a contemplative web publication. Something pondered and researched and unrushed whenever possible. We can innovate and tweet and network, but none of that means anything if we're not able to articulate anything, if we're not able to say why what we're doing matters.
I'd like to think I'll be appealing to those who value complete writing combined with an extensive eye. My readers might be those who want perspective on the world wider than a slim glimpse, something more than just a taste. Instead, I hope to offer a deeply connected, reflective banquet of thoughts.
I believe in a world that still values words but doesn't neglect the power of images and sound. I believe in fierce independence in harmony with strong community bonds. I believe in a sense of place, whether that place is a neighborhood, a city, a nation, a biosphere, a world or a universe, or even whether the place is virtual, physical, mental or emotional.
With that in mind, I hope this site will reflect these perspectives.
So I draw on the past as well as the present for information. I think of Mel Jack, but more importantly, I think about my father, Edward L. Lascher. I imagine some of those who end up at this site will know his name and the name Lascher at Large well.
While this new incarnation doesn't have a legal focus (despite my experience as a legal affairs columnist for the Pacific Coast Business Times -- or the overabundance of J.D.'s surrounding my upbringing), I realize part of the charm of the original Lascher at Large was my father's weaving of discussions of the legal world with thoughts on current events, reflections on gustatory delights, explorations of new wines, descriptions of foreign travels and even tales of ill-fated encounters with our family dog.
I'll go more in my own direction on this blog, but I do hope to return from time to time to the original Lascher at Large and ask what has become of some of the topics long ago shelved and filed. What of the new courthouses and charming new wine shops? Where did the skilled lawyers go? How did the aftermath of then surprising decisions play out?