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It’s back to the archives for the “Living Here” collection—at least for 2022.

“You’ve got to let something go,” the developmental editor told me during our first consultation.

A developmental editor—this one, at least—is many things. Coach (she taught fencing, which might come in handy in ways one can only imagine). Teacher (she taught English and composition at a high school I covered on my news beat long ago). Colleague (she’s an alumna of my college, same generation; our paths had crossed at the school paper). Project manager and guide (she published a book of her own columns from a paper I once edited). Therapist, when a writer needs to talk it out.

I told her about my works in progress: a novel, a book about writing a play, and a collection of my “Living Here” columns.

Her observations:

  1. Your writing skills are excellent.
  2. Your voice is engaging.
  3. You have a tremendous amount of material.

Thus the problem is where to start. I told her I wanted to start with “Living Here.” In fact, I had completed two books and started on a third. I told her I proposed, in 2019, 2020, and again this year, four different ways I could do this, at no risk or cost to the company. All were discussed internally, then left unanswered despite my followups.

My consulting editor said that means the company sees no future value in those columns, and that I should ask for them to release all rights to me with no restrictions. I did that, too. I’m still awaiting a response.

Head ’em up and move ’em out

So for now, and for the third year in a row, I’m letting go of “Living Here.” This time I hope to prove that although buried in the archives, the column and its readership still have value in today’s world. More on that later.

Meanwhile, I’m moving on to other projects. The first will be a remake of this blog. I had been using it to post occasional essays, fiction, and excerpts from works in progress.

But “occasional” is not good enough, especially if I’m going to be moving ahead with other projects in 2022. This will be the last post for 2021, so I’ll wish you a merry Christmas or holiday of your choice and a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

This blog will return in January with a new name, a new look, and a new outlook. I’ll be posting much more frequently, with content to make you smile or make you think. I’ll still be posting essays and excerpts from works-in-progress, along with news as it develops. Please join me by subscribing by email using the Subscribe button on the right.

And many, many thanks for joining me, Living Here Together!

See you next year!
Howard Fielding

Fan mail—first by post, later by email—is the best part of creating a dialogue with readers,