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Editor's corner: Fluff
Andrea Gutierrez new

When I was in the sixth grade, Mrs. Golden– my English teacher–gave a hefty warning to our class about “fluff” in our writing assignments.

“Fluff” in this case refers to when students use excessive adjectives and adverbs as word filler to help elongate their responses to questions, usually to meet an assignment’s word count.

(See also: town hall meetings and beauty queen pageants). It turns out that over the course of the school year, Mrs. Golden quickly caught on to our crafty thesaurus mining, and decided to reprimand the whole homeroom class one afternoon with her hands full of red-ink-stained papers, of which mine was one of the more heavily-marked ones.

From a young age, I loved to write and write and write–but my remarkable editorial skills and know-how hadn’t been acquired yet in grade school. What Mrs. Golden called “fluff” at the time was my English notebook’s bread and butter, and I wasn’t even trying to reach the word count! I could write all day in my notebook and fill my reading responses with fluff until the cows came home. But at the end of class that day, Mrs. Golden pulled me to the side and made it clear to my face that she got tired of my precocious flowery language, and urged me to be more “precise” in my reading responses.

“And also, please make your letters a bit larger so I can actually read them,” she said with her trademark cordial smile.

To this day, I credit Mrs. Golden as one of the many positive influences in my life that have molded me into the writer and person I am now–although my cursive handwriting is still hopelessly atom-sized. From her I learned about the value and importance of editing, a lost art in today’s fast-paced communications world.

Editing is such an essential part of the writing process, but unfortunately, with the rise of social media, folks (young and old) nowadays take the “backspace” tab on their keyboards for granted, rushing through their sentences and thought processes faster than an air fryer cooking salmon. We also live in a society where owning up to your mistakes is akin to seppuku, and so many would rather avoid confrontation or worse, denounce “cancel culture” instead of just admitting that they made a faux pas. My dad is like this, because he still thinks he can get away with berating his co-workers and his superiors just because he’s a good employee at his job, but he’s fast reaching retirement age and I’m not sure many employers (or my mother, for that matter) will put up with his shenanigans much longer.

But anyways, back to my regularly-scheduled column. For this week, I shall unfortunately break Mrs. Golden’s “Golden Rule” of editing fluff-filled paragraphs and will instead proceed to fill my column space on page 4 with a bunch of unrelated song tracklists. (If I had more hours in the working day, I could be the Lowcountry’s Dorothy Parker).

So I will close off this column with the track listings of some of my favorite studio albums from some of my favorite bands. My music tastes lean more towards alternative rock here, with a Spanish-language album from Argentine rock legend Gustavo Cerati (lead singer of Soda Stereo) as well as two iconic albums from The Strokes and Coldplay.

Bocanada by Gustavo Cerati (1999)

1. Tabu 

2. Engaña 

3. Bocanada 

4. Puente 

5. Rio Babel

 6. Beautiful

 7. Perdonar es Divino 

8. Verbo Carne

 9. Raiz 

10. Y Si Este Humo Está En Foco… 

11. Paseo Inmortal 

12. Aquí y Ahora (Los Primeros 3 Minutos) 

13. Aquí y Ahora (Y Después) 

14. Alma 15. Balsa

 Is This It by The Strokes (2001)

1. Is This It 

2. The Modern Age 

3. Soma 

4. Barely Legal 

5. Someday

 6. Alone, Together 

7. Last Nite 

8. Hard to Explain

 9. When It Started.

A Rush of Blood to the Head by Coldplay (2002)

1. Politik

 2. In My Place

3. God Put A Smile upon Your Face

4. The Scientist 

5. Clocks

6. Daylight

7. Green Eyes

8. Warning Sign

9. A Whisper

10. A Rush of Blood to the Head

11. Amsterdam 

Andrea Gutierrez is the editor of the Bryan County News.

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