In Other Words: Season 2, Episode 14 — ‘Intermission’

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Spring comes to Lake Champlain in North Hero, Vermont, on April 9, 2021. You can spot peaks of the Adirondacks, including Whiteface, on the far side. By Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

Last week, I posted that on that date in 2018 I had retired from the newspaper after about 35 years. It seemed like an appropriate time because it was also April Fool’s Day and Easter, the day of Resurrection, hope, and new beginnings.

And here it is Easter again. It’s also Passover for my Jewish friends and Ramadan on the Islamic calendar. All three holidays are movable feasts based on the lunar calendars of their respective cultures. So to those who celebrate in this way, blessings be with you.

For me, this is a good time for a brief intermission.

For the past several months, this blog has been focusing on my journal entries from when I first became a freelance writer, and the lessons I learned from them (or didn’t).

At this point, the journal becomes more personal and less professional as I focus on living arrangements and planning a themed birthday party. I still have to figure out how to deal with the party, which provided some life lessons that maybe I don’t want to revisit in a public forum.

On the professional side, it deals with my breakout assignments with my first newspaper, the Journal Opinion of Bradford, Vermont. The life lessons there are about first jobs and life in a small newspaper. That would be fodder for a different series entirely, one that perhaps I’ll explore next year if I can’t keep up this season.

I need this time off from blogging so I can complete my next big project: a history of the invention of Bubble Wrap. I intend to self-publish a short book on the subject to coordinate with my interview for The History Channel, which is coming up in early May.

Behind the scenes, I’ll be regrouping my research, rewriting the text, and spending a surprising amount of time indexing my sources. The book will be breezy and non-technical, but will explain what I know about the work my father and his partner did together over nearly a decade that eventually led to the invention that we all know today.

There’s more to be told, of course. I particularly want to try to track down family members of Marc A. Chavannes, who was the visionary behind these projects. But for now, all I have to go from is personal stories and public record. It’s enough to publish a first edition, anyway.

So … thank you for joining me on this trip down Memory Lane. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and perhaps learned something from it. I know I have. And no, it’s not done yet. I think these journals will lead to some insights about learning the craft of journalism.

And I still haven’t found what I’m looking for: clues to what motivated me to take up a second draft of my play. My next project depends on that information, so stay tuned!

In case you missed it

2 thoughts on “In Other Words: Season 2, Episode 14 — ‘Intermission’

  1. I received this comment by email from Celeste Hampton, who has commented here before but ran into technical difficulty this time around:
    … see you tacked on a photo of “The Prisoner” saying “Be seeing you.” with a mini-salute. Do you feel like a prisoner of this labor? It has been fun reading and living vicariously through your comments on your journals, sometimes out-loud to George, who would provide running commentary from memories he had forgotten long ago. He understands your reluctance to ask questions, especially in a world where too many can ask, “How dare you ask that” which can surely be off-putting. Reading of your struggles, I am very glad I did not take my mom’s advice to go into journalism. Unlike you, I ask too MANY questions and search for too many worthy causes…always too narrow to take up. I see now why my pop said I was the most cosmopolitan of his kids.
    … Hard to be “A Free Man in Paris” in the world of the press, I believe, but I still believe in freedom of the press, and glad for those made of sterner stuff and stick-to-it-ness like yourself who “made it through. Sorry to disappoint my mother, but I’d have been found lacking. Thanks for a look into the roads not taken. We look so forward to more on “Houdini’s Bubbles…or both your projects!
    Celeste Hampton

  2. Thanks, Celeste. The sign-off from Number 6 seemed appropriate after I shared my love of The Prisoner in my March 20 post. No, although deadlines can be a challenge they can also be liberating. I don’t feel a prisoner of my work; I simply have to set priorities.

    The whole reluctance-to-ask-questions thing also played into my decision to leave law school. Lawyers have to ask tough questions. Law students have to answer tough questions, on their feet, in the classroom. Neither one was for me.

    Thanks, too, for the good wishes on the book projects. I’ve surprised myself that my first two projects are nonfiction rather than my dreamed-of fiction, short humor, or essays. We will see what pops up next!🫧

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