Life is a series of occurrences, many being memorable for good reasons and others for not so good reasons.
2010 was a year of deeply personal trials for me. I found myself being tested in ways that challenged me not only physically but also psychologically. Health problems vexed me. Events and people from long ago haunted my thoughts. I was working and existing but I was not living.
One person and one random occurrence changed everything.
A busy Friday night in early November, 2010 found me at the Gulu-Gulu Cafe wearing headphones and staring intently into the screen of my laptop. A small writing project for a sports web site was occupying my time.
A young lady tapped me on the shoulder and asked if the empty seat to my left was available. It was very possibly the only open seat in the house. I waved her into the seat and returned to my work.
After a few minutes I noticed she was on the Salem Patch web site. I had just discovered Patch a few days earlier and had determined to contact them to see if they needed a local writer. The young lady saw me looking at her screen and said to me, "I'm glad I'm not the only geek in here working tonight."
We introduced ourselves. To my complete surprise I was chatting with the editor of Salem Patch. She looked at some of my work and I walked out with another job.
Today marks my 224th and final article for Patch. This decision was not an easy one for me, but as a matter of ethics I feel that I cannot combine what I do for Patch with my new duties.
It has been a great ride. In a life of peaks and valleys this has been one of the peaks. Spending Sunday nights writing my pieces to run on Monday mornings was never a chore. I would always wait until Sunday night because I wanted the topic to be as fresh as possible. What you were talking about was what I wanted to write about. I feel that was what happened more often than not.
There is no better feeling for a writer than to know that he is being read. To have the reader share your work with others, and to have some readers comment and create dialogue as a result of your words only adds to that feeling.
I want to thank everybody who has logged onto Salem Patch to see what I had to say on the many topics that were covered. Those of you who commented on them come in for special thanks, even the angry, unhappy types who sit around in red Cadillacs looking for reasons to complain.
You, the reader are what makes Salem Patch work. Please continue to read, to share and to comment.
So, thank you Patch, thank you Salem and a special thank you to Aubry Bracco, the young and accomplished woman who invaded my space that night in 2010.
I'll be seeing you all around the camp fire folks.