Monday, January 11, 2016

A milestone

This year is a milestone for me. In January 2006, I decided I wanted
to be a writer and that decision was life changing. It’s no coincidence 
that it happened when it did because I approach each New Year as if 
it were an empty paint-thirsty canvas, except I wanted to paint stories.

Lona Williams was the Lifestyle Editor for the Daily Mountain Eagle 
then and I approached her about the possibility of a weekly column.

She told me to contact the editor who was Brian Kennedy in those 
days. I made an appointment to meet with him the following day. Like 
most newspaper editors, he wanted more local content but had 
concerns about adding a new writer. “We’ve tried other local writers in 
the past and they were excited at first, but a weekly deadline was 
more than they could handle. We wound up with empty spaces to fill.” 

I’d planned for this argument and came prepared.  Pulling a manila 
folder from my backpack, I slid it across the desk to him. “What’s 
this?” he asked. With a sly grin on my face, I told him it was enough 
columns for a year.  Did I mention that I felt a little cocky? He sat back 
in his desk and smiled as he peeled the flap open on the folder. “I'll read a 
few and I’ll get back to you,” he instructed.

The next day, he called and told me he had space on the front of 
the Lifestyle section for me.  I howled like a hound on the full moon.

My columns started off with stories about growing up dirt poor in 
Sloss Hollow. For the first few years, writing the columns was a 
cinch giving me the illusion that the source of stories was coming 
from a creative artesian well.  After a few years, I realized that any 
well can run dry, and the words of Brian Kennedy came back to me. 
“We’ve tried other local writers in the past and they’re excited at first, 
but a weekly deadline was more than then they could handle. We 
wound up with empty spaces to fill.” 

These days when I need a little motivation, I think back on what he 
told me.

Most of my writing now comes from personal experience. I do some 
goofy things from time to time, and there’s no better person to poke 
fun at than me.

One thread that runs through most of my writing is I try to look on the 
bright side. We’re bombarded with bad news constantly, and the last 
thing I want to do is to add more negativity. There’s no bigger thrill 
than putting a smile on someone’s face during troubled times.

Writing has been a blessing. My column now appears in newspapers 
across Alabama, and in Kosciusko, Mississippi, and people around 
the world read my blog. I’ve met amazing folks across the country 
that I would have never met had I never made the decision back in 
January 2006 to become a writer.

So, happy 10-year anniversary to me!


  1. May I add my congratulations on this decade milestone. I am very happy for you and wish you continued success.
    Smiles from south Georgia,

  2. Congratulations!

  3. Anonymous11:16 PM

    There are a lot of people who are happy that you took this step in your life--& I'm one of them!!

  4. It is a happy anniversary for all of us too. Long may you write.

  5. Congratulations! So glad you found your niche!

  6. Congratulations on your 10th Anniversary. I bet it went very fast. An interesting article for your column might be the changes you've seen in these 10 years, like wages, economics, technology etc. Time goes so fast we loose track of the little and big changes that happens on the way.
    You chose your second career well, now on to the next 10 years.

  7. You should be so happy and proud of what you accomplished and continue to do so. I agree-there is too much negativity in the world so I love your style because you can make something negative sound like a passing dark cloud that will soon disappear in the winds

  8. Woo Hoo... Congratulations Rick, that is wonderful... I look forward to the next 10 years and beyond... what a great decision you made xox

  9. Happy 10th anniversary to you!


  10. Congratulations! I really enjoyed this entry. It is easy to see how the editor would have selected you. I enjoy reading the columns you put here as well as the daily blog entries. It is always a good visit.

  11. I think your a great writer. Happy Writeiversary to you.

  12. It was a good decision, especially for your readers.

  13. I love how prepared you were for the interview! I'll have to remember that. Happy Anniversary!


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