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Chatterbox: Keeping it real


Celebrations are always wonderful. This Thursday, Oct. 10, perfectly marks the 17th anniversary of our first issue of the Herald; a celebration to be sure.

I’ve waxed poetic about it before. Today, I reflect, and share a glimpse into the things I personally pump from “the cooker” (that’s my computer) located in “the hovel” (that’s my office space in my attic) where my Post-it notes waterfalls support my pitiful memory. Other than being with my loved ones and always giddy to be working and writing, the hovel is my favorite place to be – unless, of course, my hovel is in Italy, but I digress.

Recently, I received a note from a Chattereader inquiring as to whether or not I have published a book of my columns (I’m so flattered). I would, therefore, like to share some thoughts in that vein, and our anniversary is the perfect time.

Our world keeps changing, obviously, and people evolve as well. Well, at least we’re supposed to. We are, each and all of us, works in progress and the progress doesn’t end at any age. It’s best to keep learning, researching, digging, thinking, and engaging in conversation which enlightens us or, at least, points us in the direction to find enlightenment. That includes everyone, but that light of learning more and educating ourselves to a new or different perspective makes us different people today than we were yesterday, last week, or a year ago.

As a person who puts her thoughts, views, and information out for perusal, I am in a unique, though not always enviable, position. When my husband encouraged me to throw my hat into the Herald’s ring, he said a column was a great chance for me to get my “big mouth on paper” (his humorous way of being supportive) … well said.

Now, proud and lucky, here I am nearly 900 columns later, not only with a changed itinerary for my writing but aware of my continuously changing perspective. So, first, to all Chattereaders, including the gentlemen who asked about a Chatterbox book, I send thanks and gratitude for your fidelity to the column. Second, I must make a very sincere confession: the double edge to the sword of committing my heart, mind, oh … and yes, my “big mouth,” to paper is the very evolution we spoke about a moment ago.

I occasionally thumb through the old columns and, though I’m always comfortable with the grammar, or proud of the alliteration or turning of the phrase, quite frankly, once in a while I cringe at the opinions I expressed. Sure, that’s a good sign; it means I’m growing and changing and learning and evolving and my opinions are periodically altered by new information and an open mind. On the other hand, how do we reel back in that which is already circulated?

It reminds me of a column I once did on tattoos. I mean change is constant but that which we’ve already committed to ink is, well, nearly impossible to reclaim, whether newsprint or arm-candy. Just ask Johnny Depp why his arm says, “Wino Forever.” The options for changing the tattooed “Winona Forever,” after the breakup, were limited.

In short, it’s definitely wonderful to realize that we’ve evolved through increased frames of reference, improved information and expanded schools of thought but, it can be unnerving when we revisit the outdated and unenlightened opinions we offered up to public and permanent view.

No one pleases everyone all the time; it’s not only impossible, it wouldn’t create the climate required for us to improve as individuals, or for society as a whole. So, we trust that everyone can respect the evolution, and we hope that everyone is confident enough to be part of that evolution as well. We express what we believe when we believe it, change our mind when necessary, and live with the commitments we make based on when we make them.

This may seem a bit of a disclaimer, but it’s also something of absolution, and maybe even permission, for all of us to continue to educate ourselves and be comfortable with the changes; it’s a sign of progress. As Teddy Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” All opinions, too, are covered by that umbrella.

As for the book, well, that’s another story … a very other story.

My personal thanks to everyone through the years, and Happy Anniversary to the Herald.