On Writing, Hofstra, Steve Israel and the US Army


By Jay Kirell

not me

Anyway, writing has been both a hobby and a profession of mine for over 20 years, going back to when I used to illustrate and narrate my own comic strips at age 14. I gave up drawing after I sadly learned I’d never make it as an illustrator. The writing continued, thankfully, and evolved along with my interest in current events and politics.

College soon called. It was the mid-90s, an awesome time to be in college. Clinton had just been re-elected. Gas was about $1.50 a gallon. Richard Bey still had a daytime tv show. As for me, I majored in print journalism, wrote for the student paper, worked as a stringer for the Baltimore Sun and before my senior year got offered a reporter job at a weekly newspaper.

After making a pretty good name for myself at the paper with near-constant cover stories, I ended up covering the 2000 election from [now-Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman] Steve Israel’s campaign headquarters. It was on this night he won his first congressional race against Joan Johnson, not a highly regarded GOP challenger. He was a lowly Town councilman in Huntington, NY and the seat was the one occupied by Steve Lazio, who was the sacrificial lamb to Hillary Clinton in her first senate race.

I know that probably sounds terribly dull now, but at the time I thought it was cool. I was 22 and a journalism nerd.

Alas, that was one of the last stories I would report on for the newspaper, as life took me in a different direction. Various meandering stops through the health care, business and legal industries left me feeling empty inside.

And when you’re feeling down, nobody is there to pick you up like the U.S. Army.

The story of how a pudgy, Jewish, suburban liberal from Long Island enlisted in the army and ended up spending a year in Afghanistan with an infantry platoon from the vaunted 101st Airborne Division would require a number of posts (or *spoiler alert* a book) to tell. I’ll just say that it did change my life.

Soon I’ll be heading back to college to finish my degree in print journalism.

So that’s what this blog is: the observations of a student who became a journalist who became an office drone who became a soldier who became a blogger who once again became a student (but is also still blogging).

Got that?

Yeah. This is going to be interesting….

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