Writing Legend

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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on January 5, 2000. All rights

reserved.

Between the Lines

In the blur of editing last week’s issue — the

Survival

Guide for the new millennium — we left out one contribution that

seems even more relevant as we return to the day-by-day chores that

transcend any calendar change.

"The most valuable quality anyone could develop this year is

flexibility,"

writes Karen Kushner, pastor of the Religious Science Church of

Princeton

on River Road. "Oddly enough, the easiest way to become flexible

is to become clear about what never changes — your personal

reasons

for living. Those reasons can be served no matter how your activities,

your relationships, or your world are changing. They are fundamental

and unique to you.

"This new millennium each one should spend some time getting clear

about their purpose for living — what brings joy and satisfaction.

With this knowledge, the answer to how to respond to any particular

change will always be easy to determine."

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Writing Legend

Hang around any newsroom long enough and you will hear

tales of legendary editorial exploits. At U.S. 1 we still talk about

the time we needed a last minute review of the movie, "I.Q.,"

the Einstein romance filmed in Princeton and starring Tim Robbins

and Meg Ryan. We had just printed a long feature on the filming of

the 1994 movie, a first-person piece by freelancer Peter Spencer,

who had worked as a stand-in and had wonderful vignettes to share.

Given that lengthy preview, we felt it paramount to include a review

of the finished movie in the very next issue. But the first screenings

would not be held until a Monday morning at around 10 a.m. in

Philadelphia. Given our Tuesday deadline at the printer, we needed a

writer who could get to Philadelphia and back and file a review before

the end of the day Monday. We couldn’t afford a case of writer’s

block.

Our first choice for the assignment was Robert Saxon, a retired

American Cyanamid chemist who was active as a scientific translator

(in a half dozen languages), and who had already impressed us with his

writing skills in reporting on New Jersey Transit rail commuter

problems and other technological issues. Saxon, whose interests also

included a detailed knowledge of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals,

was the writer to tell us how well the movie dramatists had captured

the eminent scientist.

No problem, said Saxon. He would take the train to Philadelphia and

write the review as soon as he returned. We asked him to call us when

he got home, just so we could check his progress.

At around 2 p.m., as soon as anyone could get back to Princeton after

that commute, Saxon called. He was back. Would he be able to get the

review done by the end of the day, we asked. Actually, Saxon replied,

the review was done and it was coming over the fax line as we spoke.

Saxon was as graceful a writer as he was fast: The piece was printed

virtually unchanged.

Bob Saxon, 75, died January 2. U.S. 1 extends its condolences to his

family and friends.


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