I have to confess; I never know what to write for these op-eds. They’re usually the last thing I do for the paper, right after I get through the drudgery of Adobe InDesign layout plus double-checking and triple-checking my reporting… only to get the new mayor’s last name wrong on the front page. I’m a stickler for spelling, but “I before E” kicks my ass every day of the week.
Oh well. At least it’s not like I work for the New York Times or anything ( not yet at least–I gotta dream big!) But I bet they wouldn’t want me anyway— my insistence on using the Oxford comma would get me fired within a week. Plus I still call Twitter by its actual name, instead of saying “X, formally known as Twitter” in every other graf.
On that note, I’m so glad I’m an editor here; you couldn’t pay me enough money as a reporter to subject myself to posting my articles on social media every week.
At Grady College, I remember having to make a Twitter account for a film review class and I immediately deleted it as soon as I reached the point in the semester where it was mathematically impossible for me to fail the course.
Even for something as benign as reviewing Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,
I just don’t want to have to deal with people arguing with me about my opinions or otherwise tagging me in other people’s flame wars for the sake of “analytics” or “reader engagement.”
Which leads me back to the difficulty of writing op-eds. I just don’t know what topics will set people off in Bryan County–or worse, make them roll their eyes and turn the page. It’s been drilled into me by my legendary predecessor Jeff Whitten that in order to be a good editor I should grow a thick skin and not care what people think–but that probably came easier to him than it ever will for me. The thing is, Jeff is a man’s man–the guy you would want to have a beer with and chat about college football or complain about taxes. Conversely, I don’t drink, I don’t like football, and I most likely will never earn enough money in my lifetime to even notice the federal tax code. He’s the Ernest Hemingway to my Sylvia Plath, the Jack Donaghy to my Liz Lemon, the black coffee to my vanilla chai latte. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the subscribers who liked reading Jeff ’s op-eds may not totally warm up to my youthful perspectives. On bad days, my imposter syndrome really hits home and I wonder if I’ll ever live up to people’s expectations here in this county. Every other person I meet in Richmond Hill or Pembroke never fails to confide in me about how much they hate all the change in the area and the voice in the back of my anxious mind wonders if I’m part of the problem too.
But every day I push these thoughts to the side as I make my morning commute to the good ol’ office on Ford Avenue, ready to type away all the fear that’s fit to print. I try to look on the bright side—at least writing out my worries to the public can serve to both make me feel less alone and show readers that editors like myself are human too. It’s definitely worth a shot–even if some folks will still roll their eyes and turn the page. Weekly Faves
To close out my op-ed on a positive note, here’s a round-up of some of my favorite things this week!
Favorite Book(s): The Trial by Franz Kafka and More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez (no relation!)
Favorite Album(s): Blame My Ex by The Beaches and Movie of the Week by Shakey Graves
Favorite TV Series: All the Light We Cannot See (Netflix)
Favorite Movie: 13 Going on 30 (streaming on Netflix, Hulu)