Don’t you think it’s time you lightened your jangling key chain?

I say this as a friend, not anyone wishing you harm or to diminish you in any way

Editor:

There’s comes a time in life when a man should take a couple of keys off that jangling ring-full that keeps tugging at the bottom of his trousers pocket and hand them in, don’t you think?

I say this as a friend, not anyone wishing you harm or to diminish you in any way, but as someone who knows you personally, and deeply, and feels it’s time for you to think about things outside the realm of weekly news editor.

Not that the weekly news could ever be boring at the Chronicle. Ladysmith, Chemainus, Crofton and environs present too many facets and faces ever to be considered that. You’ve often said how active the Cowichan Valley is, and Cedar, and Yellowpoint. I’ve often heard you thinking out loud about how strong and vibrant your new community is, and how there’s never a shortage of things to cover from an inveterate reporter’s point of view.

But – and at your age this isn’t surprising – I’ve seen you settle onto the sofa for a wink of shut-eye, only to wake up an hour or so later having sagged into a deep sleep… and then awakened, still not quite refreshed.

That’s a new phenomenon, isn’t it?

Of course, you could power through. Journalism is something that gets in the blood, and the thought of giving it up is like trying to train an old dog not to chase sticks. Can’t be done. You’ll always be a news hound… which is why it’s best to avoid that dog park, where the air is filled with whirling sticks, and whizzing balls, and florescent Frisbees and all manner of things to capture your attention.

If it was just a matter of not being as fast as you once were, you could soldier on. It’s not as if anyone is trying to push you out the door; what you lack in speed you can almost certainly make up for with experience. You needn’t think of my advice so much as being pushed out the door as being drawn into a new planetary alignment – one that has always exerted its influence, even if you haven’t, until now, been able to permit yourself to fall completely into it.

I’ve known you since we were children, and know you have always been a daydreamer and story-maker, which – by the time you reached your early teens – had morphed into an unavoidable urge to write wretched poetry.

As I recollect, your penchant for spinning verse up to and over the brink of adulthood, and even at parties, earned you the sobriquet of ‘puking poet,’ bestowed by one of your less sensitive (even if more honest) relations.

No matter how cruel the taunting,  or how sensible the advice, or how obvious the alternatives, nothing could cure you of the writer’s itch, and who knows where you might have landed if, in your second year of university (which turned out to be your last) a student counsellor hadn’t recommended journalism as just the career for you – instead of Marine Biology.

“Why,” you asked.

“Because as a journalist you never really have to make up your mind. In fact it’s best if you don’t make up your mind. Your job is to ask other people questions to get at the truth.”

Okay, maybe I’ve embellished a little, but that’s pretty close to what she was saying, isn’t it? And there was some truth in her analysis.

Of course, not being a journalist herself, she couldn’t know that questioning as a state of mind becomes its own version of the truth, and that’s what you can’t give up, can you? And what she didn’t realize was the big trigger in her fortuitous advice, was the fact that journalism is about writing, and writing, and writing some more.

That part of you is never going to change, is it? We both know that. What can change is what you’ll be writing about after you’ve left those couple of office keys on the editor’s desk and let yourself out of the newsroom for the last time.

Craig SpenceChemainus

 

Just Posted

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley was passed up for a cabinet position by Premier John Horgan. (Photo submitted)
Op-Ed: Modernizing forestry and prioritizing reconciliation

Doug Routley writes on Fairy Creek and Central Walbran Valley old growth deferrals

The log retaining wall that supports the access road to the Ladysmith Community Marina is failing and needs to be replaced. (Cole Schisler photo)
Remediation work for community marina access road expected to be costly

A log retaining wall between the access road and the parking area is failing and must be replaced

Marine biologist Rick Harbo pulls a lid from the Ladysmith harbour, which he uses to monitor the presence of native and non-native species in the Ladysmith harbour. (Cole Schisler photo)
Unidentified sponge may be the latest marine species invading Ladysmith Harbour

Marine biologist finding dozens of alien species in warm-water harbour, none of them threatening

More and more graffiti has appeared in Ladysmith’s downtown core during the pandemic. (Cole Schisler photo)
Council creates rebate program to encourage graffiti clean up

Property owners can receive up to $50 to help fund graffiti removal

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

Most Read