There’s a line by the Counting Crows in their song, Long December:
A long December and there’s reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last…”
Personally I feel like December has shot by like it got fired out of a cannon, and 2021 is already shaping up to be more of the same.
Pandemic! Recession! CERB, non-maskers, anti-vaxxers and those who come from away and those who work away and come home.
I rarely turn on the news anymore. My ability to process any of it is so far into the red zone that I am left sarcastic and/or sad for hours after the evening newscast. My aversion is hardly unique, but its a bit trickier given that I make my living as a journalist. There’s a bit of refuge in my brand of journalism, though.
Municipal politics are a lot less likely to provoke mass protests against COVID-19 restrictions, for example. Our hard hitting news largely boils down to council recaps and the court report, and honestly that’s plenty.
We live in interesting times – a global pandemic that has fundamentally altered the every day for everyone – even in our relatively unscathed region.
People are adjusting, and in so doing provide kernels of wisdom. There’s a gardener in Rose Blanche who offered some How To advice about growing your own vegetables in a sometimes hostile climate, and if that sounds like a silly topic for a story, then one only has to take a look at the grocery store prices to appreciate that food sustainability is nothing to dismiss offhand because, “nothing will grow here”.
Plenty grows here, including artists. There’s an overabundance of musical talent in the Southwest Coast that goes unfairly recognized, to say nothing of the crafters and artists who routinely donate their talents and hard work to help support their community.
These are the stories I like writing and reading. In 100 years it’s your face and an article about your achievement or life they will be researching. These are the stories that matter in the future, but especially now.
They provide a much needed mental and emotional break from the stress of the constant bombardment about provincial, federal or American politics that dominate the mainstream news cycle.
I’ve got a political science degree that I can’t be bothered to hang on my wall. Politics, in my personal opinion, is currently little more than a cesspit of self-interest and big business priorities, and has served to tear apart families and friends in a way that didn’t seem possible before 2020.
Indeed, before the advent of social media it seems unlikely that people would be so dismissive about the health, well-being and very lives of their friends and neighbours. Pundits can and do blame social media for it, but I offer this – Facebook, Twitter and the other popular platforms aren’t writing those words underneath the profile photos – people are.
As a journalist I do my best to try to remain neutral. Personally I have no patience but professionally I must. Sometimes there have been massive cuts to my raw articles, and that tends to trigger some passionate debates.
I don’t get to write what I want, when I want just because I am a co-owner. There’s an accountability to journalism that all the “fake news” criers always like to ignore or dismiss.
Whatever goes into this paper I have to get past two full partners (one of whom is an editor) and an unofficial silent one. It’s not the New York Times or the Washington Post, but there are checks and balances in place even in small town Newfoundland.
Most importantly, I am accountable to the people who entrust me with their stories and the public who spend their hard earned money to read them. And read them you do.
The Wreckhouse Weekly enjoys a dedicated readership that continues to slowly grow. We’ve got some savvy columnists, regular letter writers and community contributors like the Port aux Basques Minor Hockey Association that help record our triumphs and legacy.
There are Halloween and Christmas kiddies, stories of charitable endeavours and featured profiles by guest writers.
“I can’t really write,” one guest columnist told me, before writing a beautiful feature that proved otherwise.
It has been a fairly short sample size, but I do know that there are plenty of natural writers in this region who scoff at the notion they can string a sentence or two together. It’s as amusing and endearing as it is frustrating.
We have many talents here on the Southwest coast of a rocky, windswept island in the North Atlantic. We have our traditions and our own way of doing things, and that gives us a solid foundation to take on anything the world and life may throw at us next.
Whatever 2021 brings us, I hope that at least on one front it truly is just more of the same – more you.