Wednesday, 25 May 2011 14:04
My column this week is going to be short and to the point, as I wrote a gigantic feature story this week. For some reason, I’ve really struggled to write this. I’ve been trying to figure out why, and it finally dawned on me. I can come up with some seriously creative language for people I don’t really like, but for the ones that I do really care for – I’m at a loss for words. But I’m going to try my best.
There are very few people in my life who really stand out to me as having a real positive impact on mine. I’ve kind of always danced to beat of my own, so in order to influence that beat, you’ve really accomplished something, in my book. I realize that sounds extremely cocky, and I don’t mean for it to come off that way – or maybe I do. But you have to be pretty impressive in order to impress me.
In high school, I was probably one of the only kids to have short, pink hair and lip rings and jingly Tamagotchi key chains on my belt loops. To look past all that requires a wide berth and an open mind, which I received from one lady in particular. While there were several people at the high school that I would put on a list of Elite teachers, JoAnne Gregory tops mine.
As a guidance counselor, JoAnne put me on the path that’s led to me-today. If she wasn’t helping me apply for scholarships she was writing me letters of recommendation, or whatever it took to get me in line for college. She was there for me, and she continues to support me in whatever I do.
It was never a big deal to send her an email every other week to ask for advice like “Do you think this a good college for me?” or “What do you think about this field of study?” or “What do I need to do to get accepted here?” or “I feel like I’m losing my mind, is this normal?”
As stated in the story above, she’s everyone’s’ cheerleader. Mine especially.
It took little to no time for her to get back with me about my questions or concerns, with advice only she could offer, each piece of which I filed away and have vowed to never forget.
She was there for me during an extremely rough time in my life, and I’m not even sure she really realizes it. But it’s through that time she asked me, “Are you okay? Let me know if you need anything.” Sometimes, just to have someone ask you if you’re okay, to remind you that someone cares, is all you need to grab yourself by the bootstraps and pull yourself up again. But she’s that type of person.
People say, “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for this person,” and about half of the time I think they’re full of crap. But for me to say that about JoAnne, is the truth. I would’ve never been hired on to the Manchester Enterprise, had it not been for her faith in my writing and in me as a person.
And that’s the thing I love most about JoAnne. For those she loves, she has the utmost faith in them. I hope one day I could be a fourth of the person you are, JoAnne. Best wishes in your retirement.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 14:05
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 13:20
I’m not 100 percent sure, but I’m pretty confident I’ve been blacklisted. It happens to the best of us. I just find it to be a bummer that there’s no more opportunity to be gray. Even though I suffer from some kind of extroverted personality disorder, and I mostly see in black and white, I know it’s not as easy as saying “this is good, and this is evil”. I don’t pretend to know it all, but I do have the feeling that life is more complex than dividing everything into two simple categories.
Anyway, I have a feeling that the world and me are on the cusp of something brand new and exciting. Even though we’re in the throws of black berry winter (the fruit, not the cell phone, note the lack of the ™), I’m not discouraged. This weekend radiated good vibes and productivity. I’ve noticed that the months of May and June are incredibly exhausting for me, but what spare time I do have, I’ve spent in exceptional company, making art or eating tasty foods, or sleeping. Occasionally I take baths.
A shout out goes to my very decent friend, Travis “Rabbit” Smith, for taking awesome low light photos of my significant and me. Rabbit’s photography is the stuff dead-end westernized-photography wishes it could be.
His wife, Natasha Harris Smith also gets a shout out, because two weeks ago she introduced to the world their first child, Shelby!
A shout out goes to Coy Grubb, who I met this week, and I found him thoroughly entertaining.
Rebecca Webster, Eric Lunde, and everyone at Manchester Memorial Hospital Foundation gets a shout out this week, for the work they did on the 40th Anniversary Gala. My colleague, Dylan Pickle, and I, had an awesome time and I look forward to next year’s Gala!
A shout out goes to Dorothy Moore, for being a good feature story subject.
Ronnie Miller also gets a shout out this week, for plowing my garden for me. And for being the best land lord ever. I might actually get to do some planting if it would ever dry up.
A shout out goes to Beverly Craft for gifting me herbs! I’m super excited about cultivating.
A final shout out goes to my brother, Matthew, for the pre-birthday birthday gift of a pink Camel Bak for festival-going and anti-dehydration efforts. Speaking of, the next time you all read this column, it will have been written by a 22-year-old. Brace yourselves.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 13:22
Wednesday, 11 May 2011 12:22
This weekend was Mother’s Day, and while I’m not a mom, I know plenty, so I celebrated. My own mother and I went on a nature scour and took pictures of trees and moss clusters, collected baby poplars, and basked in the sun. We’re extreme Vitamin C junkies. I maintain the world looks better with a little tan.
I also got a lot of positive commentary on my column from last week. To all of those people: thank you. Your words are very much appreciated.
I also felt like making and seeing stuff this week, so I got a wild hair idea, took photos, printed, matted, and framed them, über fast-like, in something like two and a half hours. I also invested in some acrylic paint and an easel that I’m going to dive into Wednesday-ish, along with Breakfast at Tiffany’s and a few other gems.
If I could make a mix CD for this week, it would feature Ugly Casanova, Sea Wolf, Aqualung, the Pixies, and Modest Mouse (go to Pandora, type it in, check it out).
A shout out this week goes to Zel at Golden Glow, because she’s possibly the hardest working, sweetest lady ever. And she’s fun to talk to.
Tracy and Joyce Wells get shout outs because they are two of the coolest chicks to ever set foot at the traffic light!
Faye Hensley gets a shout out, because she’s so dedicated to the seniors in our community, which is admirable X2 in a society that doesn’t always respect it’s elders.
A shout out goes to Justin Chambers, for introducing me to this Italian turkey flatbread fandango that I now occasionally crave.
Tess Lipps gets a shout out, because he’s probably one of the most genuinely good-hearted people I’ve ever met.
A HUGE shout out goes to William Christopher Lewis, III, who is looking at the Gulf of Mexico and sending me the best voice mails ever while doing it.
Also, a shout out goes to Ryan Farmer at the Leslie County Public Library. I got your letter and I enjoyed it. Thank you!
Wednesday, 11 May 2011 12:22
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 May 2011 12:24
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 12:15
I would like to clear the air about a subject or two in my column this week, one that has surfaced repeatedly, and I’m sure will continue to surface. But at least I can say I tried to spread the word. As a small town paper, before I even agreed to take this job, I was made aware of the types of things I would face: you can’t make everybody happy, everything you do will be critiqued and will be subject to commentary, etc. To that I say “whatev”.
I would like to lay to rest the idea that I and/or the company I work for “leaves things out of the newspaper”. Or my favorite accusation, “they hid that in the newspaper!” (Which makes little to no sense when you really examine that statement. How does one go about HIDING something in a newspaper?) I digress.
Since I started working here in 2008, I would be lying if I said I hadn’t been approached by someone, asking to “leave something” out of the paper. A deed, a jail report, a news story. I’ve been threatened legally, bodily, and people have even offered to “have me fired”. This happens regularly, if not weekly. I don’t really mind, because I’m not the type to scare easily, and it makes for good dinner conversation later anyway.
Even though it’s against our policy to leave things out, it doesn’t seem to be enough for some, and those who speculate that our newspaper omits information for whatever reason, seem determined to feel that way. Now read carefully this next part, because it’s super important.
On January 14, 2010, in the second edition of the newspaper that year, I wrote and published on the FRONT PAGE of this very newspaper, an article about a woman who plead guilty to drug trafficking in Clay District Court, and was sentenced to seven years in prison. That woman was my mom.
It wasn’t my step-mom. It wasn’t my aunt, my uncle, or a person that lives down the road from me. It was the lady that gave me life.
I did it mainly because it was news. I approached it like I would approach any other news story about anybody else, and it was worthy of the front page, so that’s where it went.
I also hoped in doing that, people would feel some small amount of shame in accusing me of “leaving things out” or asking me to “leave something out”. Some do and some don’t.
But for the record’s sake: I don’t omit information, because I’m worth my own salt.
Honestly, my mom didn’t care, because she loves me, and I love my mom, and neither public opinion nor a newspaper article will ever change the underlying facts. The kind that you don’t print because they don’t pertain to the story: she’s funny, she gives the best advice (whether I follow it or not, she’s usually right), and I have a tendency to sound just like her when I get angry.
It’s because of my mom that I have a decently strong character, that I can write this column, and have peace of mind about it.
So this week, a shout out goes to my mom, for making me, and helping to shape me into who and what I am. Because of you, I take what “people” say with a grain of sand, and I’m happy my life. Thank you.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 May 2011 12:16
Page 6 of 9