Friday, January 15, 2010

Picking up the pieces and using them to rebuild

Jeromy spent the day yesterday hauling tools and machinery and piles and piles of materials – everything he had stored at the lumber yard, which closed Dec. 22, 2009 – to different locations throughout the county.

He took three loads to a farm in Wakita and found a lot here in town to store his trailers.
Thanks to everyone who is letting us borrow their land for the time being.

I hauled out issues of newspapers I’ve needed to clean out for three years. The newspaper wagon is now full to the brim of every paper ever published from our small home office. I kept a copy of each, of course, but the rest will be recycled, hopefully for use by another community newspaper still keeping watch over taxpayer dollars and the community it serves.

I also cleared off shelves of my favorite novels, old grammar textbooks, high school yearbooks and photo albums. I boxed each of them up lovingly and will unpack them and enjoy opening them one day as if for the first time.

I want to clear out the office, paint it and start fresh.

I hesitated packing everything up because I’m scheduled to be interviewed Tuesday by a reporter from the Oklahoma State University radio station. She called Wednesday and wanted to know if she could interview me for a feature story about community journalism and what it requires. I’ve only been on the other end of an interview once that I can remember, and it was not journalism related. (It was about a train and truck collision south of town, and the reporters were from Channel 9 and Channel 5. I was on TV!)

I wanted the OSU reporter to see the office as it was when we were working in it, but I’m really ready to just be done with it. She said she wanted a close-up and personal view of what it was like to close a community newspaper, so I guess a room full of boxes and dust will show that just fine.

Jeromy was excited about getting my shelving for the garage. I guess it all works out. We’ve always been a team that way.

I didn’t miss delivering papers yesterday, but I still have to go pick up racks, which I’m dreading – mostly because I don’t want to answer a million questions at every place I enter. I’m tired of telling people, “I was just ready for a change,” especially to people who don’t understand that I haven’t shriveled up and died.

It’s hard to explain to people who associate journalism strictly with reporting for a newspaper that I am looking forward to my future of honing my journalism skills with plans of teaching others the same. I hope I am worthy of that task.

I have received several letters that have been supportive but have ended just the same with the words “I’m sorry you’re quitting.”

I want to dial them up and say, “I’m not quitting! I’m advancing. There’s a difference.”

In rummaging through my old stuff, much of which was memorabilia I’ve collected during the last 13 years, I found my favorite button. I picked it up at the 1999 National SPJ Convention in Los Angeles. It says, “Trust me. I’m a journalist.” I bought a T-shirt that said the same, but it is no longer with us.

I wish the button wasn’t so tongue-in-cheek humorous. I wish journalism was a profession we could honestly say “trust me” and everyone in the world would believe us. Unfortunately, some reporters have spoiled the true essence of journalism, but even their spoilage has its advantages, I guess. It keeps the truly honest journalists in a class by themselves. The truth is tricky (and sometimes not as fun) to report, but in the end, those who do eventually will sleep better.

I slept good last night. I was worn out from lugging boxes all day.

Readings for Jan. 15, 2010:

Matthew 6:25-34
Acts 9:20-43
Psalm 16
Genesis 36

Do Not Worry

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:25-027 (New International Version)

“I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” - Psalm 16:8

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