As I mentioned in my last post, Carolyn is on vacation this week and has left us with a series of columns of compiled reader responses either to old letters or perhaps to questions she's posed at large (it seems she's been stockpiling the answers for just this occasion....sneaky!)
Anyway, I've mentioned before that there are differing opinions on letting your readers write your column. I think it's annoying when columnists do it regularly, but I also think it's a lot hard than just pulling a few excerpts from your inbox and calling it done. Others--ahem, SK--disagree. (Hmm....just dug back in the archives to see where I mentioned it, and it looks like maybe I never actually wrote that post. Suffice it to say, SK and I wrote in to Carolyn to ask her this question, but she didn't respond).
Often when columnists go out of town, papers will just run old columns until they return, and I'd rather have fresh content--even if mostly from readers--than stuff I've seen before.
Anyway, I'm not sure if the examples Carolyn is publishing this week speak to the fact that she has the most thoughtful, eloquent readers ever (even if she didn't publish me....le sigh...) or if they are proof of the fact that she (or her editors) put a great deal of time and effort into combing her mail, identifying the most thoughtful and eloquent contributions. Either way--don't skip Carolyn this week just because she's out of town. There are good ideas and fresh perspectives from her smart and well-spoken readers on a number of different topics!
Also, I am finding it refreshing and inspiring to hear from people who have come out on the other side of problems and have something useful to say about it, rather than only from people in the midst of trouble. Even though, obviously, that is what the columns are there for.