I've often had readers tell me that they aren't interested in reading about my life, and they ask why my opinion on any particular subject should be placed before the public. Obviously, my "fan club" is not composed solely of enthusiasts!
Of course, I get the same questions about Jane, Renee', Kendal, Mike and Kristi. Okay, maybe not so much about Kristi, everyone seems to love her! But, any columnist writing for a regular publication is placed in an extraordinary situation. We put our lives before you, the readers, and allow you to judge us, to laugh at us, and to pity us. When we share our lives and our thoughts, we are allowing you to know more about us. But why?
I can't speak for the others, for I'm certain each of them have their own feelings about writing. For me, I know that I wanted to seek the connections we all have. You may not agree with my politics; but, you fully understand my joy in fishing. You may have a different faith than I; but, we share the joy in having a relationship with God. You may have more pain in you life than I; but, we have both known loss and hurt.
I'm coming up on my 12th year at the News. I've been writing the column for 11 of those years. That is 52 columns a year, for 11 years, or 572 compositions. And students think writing a 500 word essay is challenging. Imagine having to compose a 600 word essay every week, and you see my position. And, it needs to, ideally, be something that readers might find interesting. That is often the more challenging task.
I've written about roads and about marriage. I've shared the loss of a loved one, and the marriage of another. I've eulogized loved ones that have gone on, and I've praised champions that walk among us. Along the way, I've irritated some, tickled a few, and changed one or two.
My friends and family are often chagrined to see themselves appearing in my column. But, they appear there because they also appear in my life. A good columnist should always write about what he knows. I know the people in my life and I write about them.
My columns are written in casual first person, much as one might write in a diary or a journal. I write from my perspective, commenting on how things make me feel, and interjecting my opinions. You may not agree with me, you may not like what I say, you may find me objectionable; but, if you see any part of your life in my stories, then the connection I've sought has been made.
I'm neither better nor worse, neither smarter nor dumber, neither prettier nor uglier. I'm just different; but, we find our connection and we build upon that.
Maybe its our shared dislike for people that don't put away the carts in the proper places at the supermarket. It could be our shared love of cookie dough ice cream. We don't have to have too many things in common to get past our differences. It is our similarities that we use to work together, and that we build upon to get things done.
Jane and Renee' and Kendal and Mike and all the others dangle their lives out there, exposing their fears and insecurities, and allow you to find common ground with them. And, with me. As different as we all are, we find our similarities and discover that we can work together, that we can live as a community, and that we can prosper.
It’s all just my opinion.