I'm flattered to know that people read my column, and pleased that they are interested enough to make comments about some of the topics I've touched on in my ramblings.
Occasionally, I get a different type of comment - a suggested topic for the column. I guess I should say that it's not occasionally that such a thing happens, for it occurs on a regular basis.
"You should write about....."
"I wish you would do a column concerning...."
"Why don't you tell people to...."
The suggestions are all over the spectrum. Traffic. Dogs. Elected officials. Laws. Television shows. It seems there is no end to the list of things that piques the attention of our readers.
Just to warn those making suggestions, you'll notice that the title of the column is In MY Opinion. The things that I write about are those items that, for whatever reason, have caught my interest that week and that I feel compelled to write about and to discuss. As an editorial, it means that I am discussing the topic from MY perspective, using MY background and knowledge, and referencing MY view of the issues at hand.
For the times that others have a unique take on such issues, we have the Letters to the Editor, where you can share YOUR opinions. Asking me to parrot your opinions is unfair to readers, as they know when I'm being disingenuous and simply repeating something that doesn't stir me. Though I am obviously going to agree with our readers on many topics, and even share perspective on many of them, we are all unique individuals and it is highly unlikely that the same things that excite or irritate you are the things that will provoke the same response in me.
There are weeks when nothing stirs me. Last week was a great example. I was drained of creative juices and decided not to push for something that just wasn't going to be there, no matter how hard I tried.
There are other weeks when I have to winnow out the things that have been preoccupying me and narrow my focus to only one topic.
I don't write my columns in advance. I wait until Tuesday morning, and then prepare the column as one of the final duties before beginning to lay out the paper. That helps me to keep my topics current; but, it also forces me to kick myself into gear and get into a creative frame of mind to finish the newspaper and get it to press before deadline.
My readers will not always agree with my opinions. Sometimes, they will not even like them. But, the readers know that the opinions I'm expressing are my own, not someone else's, and that I will stand behind them.
So, be careful if you ask me to include a topic in my column. You may pick the one item that we don't agree on, and you'll be sorely disappointed with where my discourse traveled.
It’s all just my opinion.