It’s about 9:15 and Allie and I are in the newsroom as she puts together the school board meeting story from this evening. (Is it weird that I thought about the “It’s 3:00 in the morning” commercial re-reading that and chuckled? Successful ad campaign, Hillary.) Allie’s a really good reporter, and she’s very detail-oriented. I really admire that in her. And she’s a sunbeam, too. I feel creepy writing this as I sit next to her. But hey, apparently I’m a sassy house cat and I can do what I want. I like this.
My last few days were nice, and I got to go on a spontaneous sojourn to Marshfield, Mo., a small town outside of Springfield, with my friend for Easter Sunday. It was a great time, especially because I got to spend some time with some great people (and I got some good food too). And not to mention, I got to indulge my neglected inner Episcopalian for a moment. I always get sad on Easter or other holidays where everyone seems to vanish and gallivant away to their families for a few days. Hey, if I could do that, I would. But that’s a big part of the reason why I decided to come here. Because I’m not near my family, I’ve gotta put myself out on a limb sometimes. And other times, people take me under their wing without my asking or even thinking.
I’ve gotten into a few hefty conversations lately, and it kind of runs in the same thread of how I’ve noticed my life perspective changing so frequently. Journalism has really made me into an observant person, and in that light, I’ve also become very pensive. I’ve become more selective — or maybe selective isn’t the right word, perhaps “attentive” is better — about the people I choose to surround myself with. I’m a very reflective person, internally and externally. I transform to my surroundings. Like a chameleon. I guess you could call me a sassy house chameleon, too. (Are there house chameleons? Do people have them as pets? That’d be fantastic.)
There is a solid group of people in my life that I truly care about. And while that number may be small, I try to embrace these relationships to the fullest extent because they mean so much to me. Sometimes I fail, and I’m a bad friend. Sometimes I’m neglectful, sometimes I’m resigned, sometimes I just want to be alone with a book on war and a cafe au lait. But I’ve been trying very hard for the past few years to make my life filled with as much optimism and open-mindedness as possible. I come from a family that’s very hot-blooded, but one that is also very close. I just hope I’m cared for as well. And maybe I’ll never know the extent of the care I’m receiving. But if I give enough out to the right people, I feel like it’s bound to come full circle.
It’s like reporting, I suppose. You don’t go halfway on a story. You research, you call sources, you outline, you write, you draft, you re-write, you re-draft, you edit, and probably go through more drafts. And that’s not including the photos and graphics (which are equally as important, lest we reporters forget). It’s about truth and fact-checking and being a messenger for the masses. But moreover, I think it’s about humanity itself. And if I can contribute a little bit to humanity and tell a story about its intricacies and conflicts, I can most assuredly contribute to humanity in every other moment. Being a reporter doesn’t mean I have to turn it off when I go home. I need to be accurate, to want to strive for the truth, to talk to the right people, cover all the angles, and simply, tell the story. And I need to be open to the stories in my own life and in my relationships.
So many gods, so many creeds;
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.
– Ella Wheeler Wilcox