Family Values


My father, Frank H. J. Figge, was a cancer research scientist, and he used to tell me that “Nothing is ever completely true or completely false.” A useful mantra for a reporter. When he died, I was a 34-year-old stay-at-home mom with three children and an intense desire to tap his creative legacy. I learned by doing, as a stringer for a daily paper, and then specialized in dance.

After 10 years of freelancing as a dance writer, I got my dream job, working for Rich Rein at U.S. 1 Newspaper, Princeton’s business and entertainment journal, then a monthly, now weekly (www.princetoninfo.com). Covering business or technology, I discovered, was like covering dance. You present a personality, and you translate the technical terms into words that a layperson can understand. Whether writing about a choreographer, an entrepreneur, or a scientist — they are all “people” stories.

Two decades later I’m freelancing for U.S. 1, on a less stringent schedule. Freed from editing responsiblities, I am “out and about,” meeting business people and attending concerts. Virtually every day, someone I meet or something in the news reminds me of a person I’ve interviewed or an article I wrote, two or 20 years ago. I resisted blogging (what? put stuff up on the web that no one else has edited? do wordsmithing for free? make my reporter’s life public?) Why not just keep a journal?

Because journaling is private, and I’ve been putting words out for public consumption for so many years that it feels right to keep doing it. Perhaps my perspective will be useful — and provoke you to add yours. The comments page is open, and you don’t have to “join” or “sign up” though any identification you might provide would be most welcome. What did your father or mother tell you that affects how you do your work today?

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5 thoughts on “Family Values

  1. Since one of my most important career moves was to admit to myself, “I don’t mind at all becoming my mother” (and try my hand at journalism) I will also say Welcome to Blogging! I think you’ll love the freedom to post twice a day, twice a week, or twice a month depending on your inspiration.

  2. Hi! Welcome to the world of blogging! It’s so exciting when someone leaves a comment. When I was studying photography at MCCC, Bill Barksdale who was my teacher/mentor said that photographs could not lie. They were “true” because, other than retouching here and there, you couldn’t alter them. Now we have digital photography, photo montages and downright fabricated images from PhotoShop. Who knew that would happen? My dad had a job as an assistant to a photographer who did portraiture with a view camera. It’s too bad he didn’t stick with it. He went to work for a big chemical company and hated every day of work there. But he continued to take pictures and had a great eye. After he died I scanned in all the old family photos, retouched them in Photoshop and gave them to the family on CDs. It was quite a legacy. My sister stunned me recently by saying that during WWII Dad worked with Margaret Bourke-White. I hadn’t heard that and have no way to verify if that is the truth or not. Who knows? But it is where I get my photographic eye and love for photography. Keep on blogging. I’ll keep on visiting. Pat

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