I am grateful for newspapers, especially those who print my columns. I know that seems a bit self-absorbed, but seeing my columns in print each week validates this calling, this undertaking to create the written word, to put my thoughts, however obscure, down on paper.
I am grateful for the Fort Frances Times that carries my column “Wendi With An Eye”, a title with a slight play on words. The Fort Frances Times is an independent newspaper, one of the few left in this country and it truly operates as a family business: mother, sons and daughter all continue to carry the father’s torch, all chip in to keep the paper churning out news each week. I’ve written that they are like a lighthouse, the paper is the light to shine people home, those who have wandered off from where they were born.
I used to be grateful for the Owen Sound Sun Times, but they’ve just sacked me. After four years of my weekly columns they’ve decided their budget can’t bear the burden of my $50/week column. So I’m not grateful for The Sun Times any longer, but I used to be, was so very glad to send my seven hundred words off to them each week and hear from many kind readers with their thoughtful comments and personal stories and sometimes from a reader or two who thought my grammar was atrocious and needed some tweaking when it came to lie and lay and affect and effect. I’m not sure even now that I have it right, so I am always grateful for the help.
The truth is I’m sad to lose the opportunity to call myself a writer. It’s bloody hard (excuse my lack of decorum) to eek out a living as a writer, but I can’t help myself; it’s what I want to do, need to do. I kept waking up in the night with a sense of anxiety that my value is now even more limited than before, that I could be dismissed with one day’s notice, that my work is no longer required. Surely we all have earned a bit more than that, a gentler shove off the cliff of business.
Perhaps it is for the best. Rip the band-aid off and limit the pain. I’ll now have more time to finish my novel that is really close to being complete. Maybe this is just the sign I need to dig in and finish this work I’ve been nurturing for five years now.
So I should be grateful for The Sun Times for giving me the big heave-ho. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be grateful. Right now I’m still nursing the wound.