Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Groundhog Day: My visit to Punxsutawney, PA to See Phil

Together with my wife Patti, I spent the first weekend of February in the tiny town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to see Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most famous groundhog, predict the weather. We were joined by about 3,000 other folks. Alas, Phil saw his shadow.

It was quite an experience. It was cold, muddy, a little wet, tiring—you stand in a crowd (some revelers were there starting at 3:00 a.m.), and not to be missed. I might need to do it one more time before I get much older. In any case, I now can pursue other items on my bucket list. Here’s a 2 minute video of the concluding part of the ceremony.

Since that weekend, I have reflected on how I could relate Groundhog Day is legal writing. I found a connection in the movie Groundhog Day, one of my favorites. There, reporter Phil Connors (Bill Murray) lives the same day over and over until he works through his self-centeredness and “gets it right”—a long, long process. In learning how to write, we write over and over again. We may start by writing oblivious to our audience. We then may try to imitate the style of other writers. But we don’t get it right until we find our writing style in our own authentic self.

If you ever plan to make  the trek to western Pennsylvania, please feel free to give me call to get some tips.



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