I got a big envelope in the mail the other day from a local real estate agent. Usually I toss real estate stuff after I note how much houses have appreciated around here. But this one was from someone I knew from my early Pali Elementary days, Betty Jo, and someone who has treated me very kindly of late, so I was curious to know what she would send me in a hefty legal sized envelope.
When I opened it I saw a stack of glossy one page reproductions of the article I had written for our local newspaper. “The Longest I’ve Lived in One Place.” It was my love letter to The Palisades, as I have lived here longer than any other single place, a total of eighteen years.
Betty Jo said that she puts a stack of these out at all her Open Houses to show people how wonderful it can be to live here. I’m flattered. (I know, the cynics out there will say, ‘does she give you a piece of her commission when she sells the place?’ but I am not in this for the money. Flattery is enough)
Ironically, the very same article kind of stabs me in the heart. I earned my VERY FIRST WRITERS’ DOLLAR writing that piece for our new local paper. I was supposed to be one of the core writers, and I experienced the joy of 1) cashing the check, and 2) seeing my name on the masthead as a contributing writer. But I soon became persona non grata at the very same paper. It seems the editor doesn’t like my style of writing, as I inject my personality into my pieces and my perspective into my observations. I hadn’t signed up to be a full fledged news reporter. I don’t have that skill and don’t want to grow it. What I do is observational and commentative. (Author’s note, that is in fact a real word, commentative.) I don’t really want to write journalistic pieces. After all, I’m 58 and don’t aspire to be a newspaper woman in the traditional sense. What I do is offer perspective. And, sadly, that isn’t wanted by the powers that be.
It kind of breaks my heart that I don’t have a forum for that in our local paper. But hey, maybe you can catch my work at local Open Houses.