Displaying items by tag: opinion

Something newspaper editors never say: “I wish that fewer people responded to that piece in last week’s paper.”

Well, thanks to the nature of the online world that we currently live in, I’m going to buck tradition: I wish fewer people responded to that piece in last week’s paper.

Last night I read Harold and the Purple Crayon to my 5-year-old. He sat wide-eyed with an expression of intrigue as we learned about Harold drawing an imaginative world with his crayon.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a crayon or a pen or a pencil and create a world that’s easier or happier? It certainly would. But that’s not the way real life works.

I’ve never shot a gun.

Nope. Not once. I come from a family of gun owners. I’ve held plenty of guns. I’ve even attended a handful of gun shows. And I enjoyed learning about each one, the feeling of history and power within my fingers. But, I’ve never shot one. No interest, really. Honestly.

We were pretty full of ourselves, I guess. Barely 19, barely finished with our freshman year in college, having left our provincial little town behind for the urban chaos and the infinite possibilities of university life just over a year ago. Now here we were again, back in town for the summer. We knew we were going back to school soon enough, so we wanted to cram every bit of experience and drunken camaraderie into those last few weeks together before packing up our junk, moving back into the dorm, settling on a major, and getting serious about the future after a few false starts and narrow escapes during our freshman year.

This is what it means to be an American.

I’m talking about NFL players and coaches and owners uniting to protest during the national anthem because they disagree with our president after he called for team owners to fire every “son of bitch” kneeling during the anthem. I’m talking about black athletes at the Mexico City Olympic Games in 1968 raising fists in support of the Black Panther movement, of people who burn flags, even those who heckled Vietnam War veterans on their return home because they disagreed with the conflict.

I’ve always been prone to bouts of melancholy. I’m not sure if it’s a writer thing or a woman thing or just a thing with my own physiological make-up. These emotional phases once bothered me. I identified them as “depression” or “life stagnation.” But, in recent years, I’ve learned to settle into these moods of mine.

Some things we know, but when someone lays out the numbers and reveals in specific numbers how the big picture is changing right before us, things come into sharper focus.

I’m talking about race and politics. Things are changing drastically here in North Carolina and throughout the nation. This new reality is creating a kind of cultural flashpoint, and the sparks are being seen in many different arenas.

The treehouse that we had built in our backyard when we bought our house eight years ago sits vacant on a breezy September afternoon, the last day of summer, just as it has for the past eight years. For reasons I may never fully understand, the kids rejected it like a body sometimes rejects an organ, so it just sits there, year after year, collecting spiders and the intricate architecture of their silk-spun homes.

The computer stares back, unblinking. Deadline is approaching and I’m fighting to hone in on a topic for my column.

The most common question I get from those in other professions is about deadlines, wondering how reporters and columnists and designers and the rest of us in this industry handle the pressure of deadlines that never go away. You make one deadline — or miss one — and the next is standing there, staring you down like a bill collector, patient as an alarm clock — tick, tock, tick, tock ….

Reuniting with my big sister never seems to be an easy jaunt. Whether she’s traveling to North Carolina or I’m visiting her in D.C., one of us must journey almost 500 miles to get to the other.

But despite distance and tight budgets, we’re good about making it happen.

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