86 – beginnings and circles

Writing this in the Days Inn in Junction, Texas, early on a Thursday morning. Once I get my pooky together, I’m headed over near Austin for a web conference… for my new job.  I was hired on the spot at an interview Tuesday morning as managing editor of the Alpine Avalanche. It’s a weekly newspaper owned by Granite Publications. And, to add substance to the notion that what goes around comes around, I worked for them in 1999 and 2000 as managing editor at a different paper, The Madisonville Meteor. I also wrote opinion articles for more than a year and a half for another one of their papers, The Fort Stockton Pioneer in 2009-2010.avalanche

Part of the reason they hired me on the spot is because my amazing publisher and boss while at The Meteor, Hank Hargrave, and the also amazing Pam Bouray, publisher of The Pioneer, gave great references for me, which leaves me both flattered and humbled. Hank is now the owner/publisher of his own newspaper, The Normangee Star, in central Texas (and a new grandpa!). Pam I met when she was the new managing editor for The Pioneer, through Leadership Fort Stockton.  It’s an outstanding business leadership program run by the Chamber of Commerce in Fort Stockton that gets future leaders into one space, takes them through the infrastructure of the town on a three-month, weekly process, then to a retreat in the Hill Country to cement relationships with each other and the Chamber leaders.

Looking at that fast exposition of 15 years of my life–and yeah, I left out a lot–a lot of people might look at it and say that it means I’ve made no progress at all. I mean, it is a closed circle from managing editor back to managing editor, right? But here’s the actual completion of the circle–exactly 15 years ago yesterday, while I was the ME at The Madisonville Meteor, my mother died. I don’t celebrate death-a-versaries, and find those who do a little spooky, but when we lost Mama, the next couple years were honestly the darkest of my life. They set a pattern for me of running that I didn’t really break until I left my first marriage nine years later. All this is 20-20 hindsight, of course… but that I would be back in Texas, working for the same company, on my way to learn more about my new job and the future of that company’s efforts to combine print and web in ways that make sense…

I usually find the term “closure,” as used by shrinks and their ilk, annoying–but that may be because I never actually saw it before.  Do I know how all this is going to turn out? No. If I could tell the future, I’d be buying lottery tickets. Am I excited? Yep, I love beginnings, and always have.  It’s one of the many, many reasons I loved community newspaper work before–there is always something new. Is it all going to be sunshine and roses? No, there are hazards to anything, but at least this time, I’m walking in with my eyes wide open. Keep a good thought for me–if I have a dream where this is concerned, I would like Granite to be the last company I work for before I retire some decades down the road. It’s a small dream, but mine own.

For now… it’s time to get in the shower and get on the road, my chickens; I’ve got places to go, people to see!

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