This pandemic and all it’s wrought is as good an excuse as any to make amends with our pasts, and to recognize those who’ve never been acknowledged for the effect they have had on our lives.
I’m thinking of Woodstock Times of earlier this year. I miss my editor.
I miss the editor of Kingston Times. And Almanac. I miss writers I wrote alongside for years. Like Jesse Smith.
Several decades ago I wrote a story for Ulster Magazine, a publication relative of Hudson Valley One. I listed all the newspapers I worked for, cobbling together a livable income, and how the deadlines and pay for each affected the copy I wrote. And how I imagined my readers in each publication.
Ancient history now. As with the various newspapers and magazines I edited (and sometimes helped start): Phoenicia Times, Catskill Mountain News. The Mountain Eagle. Catskill Quarterly, Rural New Yorker. The Olive Press. Generation Monthly. Watershed Post.
Lifetimes involve loss, or carnage, as some put it. We don’t need to look at those who have represented us as losers once they’re move beyond. Same with those who ran but never won. Every candidate I’ve known in my years covering our region’s politics tried. They had things they wanted to contribute, and gambled all for their plea to voters. I know this from my lifetime in media: It’s rare one senses anyone reading you, or listening, besides a paid editor. You operate in a sometimes stultifying silence.
And yet you sometimes run into someone who has read every word and sees you as a friend. Or blesses you with a card, or a letter to the editor, a comment that resonates beyond those you’ve upset because you tread into their cherished sense of self-worth. Or who can quote you things that you’ve forgotten having written.
I send this column out to all the Brians I’ve worked with (five editors and one publisher), the Julies and Carols and Debs I’ve battled with but still treasure.
Keep on doing, I say. What we do is epic and needed, at least in memory as a means of all getting to the better parts of where we are now.
Read more installments of Village Voices by Paul Smart.