I like the way the rapper Drake put it: “I’m looking forward to the memories of right now, never forgetting from where I came.” It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since I joined The Sheet at about this time in 2008. But after what’s been one of the most incredible experiences of my professional life so far, the time’s come for me to move on to other opportunities. That brings me to this, my final column. I didn’t want to just walk away without saying a proper farewell to our Sheet readers.
Looking back, I can honestly say I’ve learned a lot about the news business and reporting, and have become a better writer as a result. As a Florida flatlander, who thought hills were the ones with the Hollywood sign, I also got to learn a lot about real mountain life, and by extension interact with countless interesting people.
The Chinese proverb says, “May you live in interesting times.” Well, we who call this area home certainly do, and I derive great satisfaction at having been one of those who documented quite a bit of local history. Lately it occurred to me that I was reporting those stories in a paper undergoing its most substantial evolution to date.
During my tenure, The Sheet, which was around 12 pages when I started, soon expanded to 16 pages, then 20 and within the past few years ran its first 40-page edition. I also participated in The Green Sheet, as well as contributed to special publications, such as the Summer Guide, Dining Guide and Wedding Guide, all of which have been markedly successful in their own right.
Journalism is a tricky business under the best of conditions, and a small town environment comes with its own set of demands. I like to think that I was objective, and strived to report accurately and fair and balanced, with my own voice and style, which The Sheet encourages of its writers.
One of the best parts of being a writer has been the wealth of stories. Writing about arts and culture, places, government and interviewing fascinating people has given me a wealth of memories that will stay with me forever. I’ve been both news reporter and storyteller.
My work has allowed me to come to know and talk with so many wonderful folks, and listing them all here frankly isn’t possible. A few of those I was privileged to meet who are no longer with us have made a lasting impression on me, including Mono County Supervisor Bill Reid, Planning Commissioner Roy Saari, Andrea Mead Lawrence and former Mammoth Lakes Mayor Skip Harvey. I remember them fondly.
My only regrets are stories I missed, people I would like to have gotten to know better and stories I wish I’d been able to dig deeper into. Nonetheless, it’s been an honor to serve the community as I did, and I’m proud to have worked with The Sheet, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year.
In closing, I want to thank Ted Carleton for his guidance and nose for news. Thanks also to my very talented colleagues Lara Kirkner and Katie Vane, and all the other past staff and contributing writers with whom I’ve been graced to collaborate.
My wife and I have made our home here, and plan on staying, so this is not goodbye. What comes next has yet to be determined, so for now, I’ll just quote from the WWII-era song made popular by British singer Vera Lynn: “We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when. But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.”
Thanks to all of you. Here’s to future days.
FYI: I can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on cell at 760.914.0798.