It’s a gray, cold day … matches my mood. I quit one of my jobs–one I’ve held longer, I now realize, than any other job in my life. Last week, when I was unhappy with an editorial decision by an editor who was filling in for the one I ususally work with, I realized how very unhappy I was writing my column in the new format. After some back and forth emailing, I realized my heart wasn’t in it and I wrote a “farewell” column, and then sent it along with a thank you directly to all the editors I had worked with, letting them know that it was exactly the exchange about this one column we had that brought me to realize what I wanted for myself and for my writing.
Still, the space I usually occupy in the newspaper was filled by someone else and the “Talkin’ TV” column was filled by a wire piece on the Sopranos. No good-bye column, no nothing. People at church asked “where’s your column” and it was then that it started to hit me that I had, in reality, quit. And then, today, as I was cleaning out filing cabinets, I had to sort through all my old work that I have stashed in there. I found several versions of the very bad novel I wrote years ago, and stack upon stacks of old columns. Somewhere along the line, I started saving them all electronically, but there they were, all yellowed with old pictures with old eyeglasses.
I still believe what I wrote in that goodbye column that may never see the light of day, which is that this is the best move for me right now. The old space just doesn’t fit anymore. I’m not sure I will ever be able to write more than 560 words at a stretch anymore, as the practice of doing so has become fully ingrained. But that’s what I wanted to do, to stretch and let myself work through what’s on my mind without restriction on space or topic. That’s what’s great about this blog. Lot’s of space.
And I’m happy. I really am. It just feels incomplete right now. It would have been nice to say goodbye. But, that’ s how life is, right? We don’t always get to say goodbye.
It was a good run; and there was never a Sunday when I saw my byline and my photo that I wasn’t grateful for the opportunity to be there, telling my story, inch by newspaper inch. And there was never a time (except once at a funeral when it just seemed wrong) that I wasn’t absolutely thrilled to have someone say “I read you every week.” I especially loved getting emails from moms who were still mothers, but grandmothers now, too. And they would write that they went through all the same stuff with their kids–and they offered me their stories of life with children, and then they offered kind words and hope. I will miss that, too.