We have a strong group of local writers where I live.
That makes me very, very happy.
Every Saturday the county gets an opportunity to hear from all of us, and the writing is well crafted, personal, and entertaining.
This week, my column was about not having a column. It was one of those times when the universe just says, “here. You need this.” Like the Giving Tree of memoir.
We also got to hear from Debby Hornburg, whose grandson plays with my kiddos. I love her soft voice. Mine is not usually so soft, although in moving toward reading a lot of Didion lately I find my voice softening a bit around the edges too.
Our sports editor Andy doesn’t write columns often, and when he does they’re usually about sports stuff. At least stuff tangentially related to sports. This week, he also had a sad sort of story to tell. Poor Andy. Dexter was lucky to have a good family. I remember having to put my first cat down. It was a sad day. A sad week.
Cody Elms writes about parenting a lot, like I do usually, and have backed away from in the last month or so.
New to the column scene is Circulation girl Cat Olson, with a distinctly millennial perspective.
And we even run local commentaries from people who don’t write much but have great stories to tell.
There are more, and each columnist has something unique to say. We all have our own little followings, our own interests and tropes that we grapple with each weekend.
But what we all have in common is the compulsion to repurpose our lives and experiences into story.
We all recognize the sacredness of story. It’s importance to our humanity. Its ability to both heal the writer and gift insight to the reader is important.
Narrative nonfiction is a direct path to connection, and it’s communicable. Readers assimilate authors’ perspectives into their own worldviews and they in turn have an effect on someone else based on what they read and the changes it made to their conscious realities.
Story is just so, so powerful.
I’m really pleased to have a tribe of fellow writers around me who value our collective role as storytellers, and the importance of our role – of being a vehicle for story itself.
I’m also humbled and grateful every single time someone says they read my column. And beyond humbled when they report having enjoyed it.
I don’t make a lot of money. My daughters and I live pretty hand to mouth because there is nothing to save at the end of the week. But what my job lacks in monetary compensation it does sort of make up for in intangibles.
Flexibility. Access. A wide variety of experience, interaction, and opportunities to satiate my curiosity, which is terminal, aggressive, and demanding.
And, maybe most valuable of all, audience.