So Long, Farewell, auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye!
When (CV Weekly publisher/editor) Robin Goldsworthy first asked if I’d be interested in writing a weekly column, she was editor of the Crescenta Valley Sun, which at the time was owned by the Glendale NewsPress, which is owned by the Los Angeles Times, which is owned by … well, never mind. I said yes, and she has been graciously publishing my thoughts exactly as I’ve written them down with fewer edits than I can count on one hand in well over 300 columns.
At the time, I had no idea what I would write about for several weeks, much less several years. But we live in a unique corner of the world, in a fascinatingly diverse town and – to say the least – during challenging times. After a few dozen columns, it became obvious that there were far more column subjects than time to write them. In fact, the flash drive that I use for these columns has something like 65 half-written columns. (As opposed to half-baked, which is how my critics would label them, no doubt!)
Countless times I’ll have had a column nearly completed to the 650-word length requirement and almost ready to send off to the CV Weekly’s lavish global headquarters. Then some national or local event will happen that begs for snarky commentary – and so I save the original column to my “In Progress” folder and bang out an entirely different, more topical column. That’s what happened as recently as last week, for example, when the 4.4 earthquake hit on Monday morning and I found myself chomping at the keyboard to make fun of the subsequent news media follies “covering” the non-event.
And so, yet another column got diverted onto my flash drive and into literary limbo. Such is the nature of writing in our digital world. Even so, here are a few of the truths I’ve learned in writing hundreds of columns:
1. First and foremost, readers who disagree with a particular viewpoint or opinion are far more likely to write to the editor than the people who agree with what you write. For every fire-breathing (tolerant?) progressive who has written to Robin threatening to unsubscribe if she didn’t pull my publishing plug, there have been countless more wonderful folks who have approached me in the grocery store or in the Montrose Shopping Park or wherever I happen to be – who thank me for daring to speak up for the more traditional values and viewpoints.
2. The longer I’ve lived here (all of my life) and written about it, the more I realize that the Crescenta Valley is truly a unique place to live and raise a family. It’s close to the all of the financial, creative, technological and manufacturing hubs of Los Angeles, San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, and yet is hidden between the forested foothills of two mountain ranges that make it feel like an escape from the “big cities” only a short freeway drive away.
3. It amazes me how people react (both positive and negative) to different topics. What I think is going to be controversial often garners almost no feedback at all, while something I might briefly mention in passing will become the fodder for significant reader response. Go figure.
4. That it’s not easy being the spouse or kids of someone who writes openly and transparently in a community newspaper once a week. For any discomfort, cringe-worthy stares and outright embarrassment I may have caused family members over the years, I apologize.
5. Finally, I’ve learned that there is a time for everything in life and when it’s time to move on to something else, well, it’s time. That said, this will be my last weekly column for the CV Weekly. I make a living as a writer, but this column has always been more about the love of writing rather than the money. (But Robin, you can still expect my final invoice!)
And with that, I’ll see you ’round town.