24 March 2017


Three hundred blog posts.

My first post, written over eight years ago, was really dumb.

This is how old I was when I started blogging.
It took me years to get a better handle on my tone.

When I started posting, everyone had a blog. Writing grammatically dubious race reports. Spewing inside jokes. Referring to friends by their dumb nicknames.

All those blogs are now mouldering in Blogspot limbo. You can still find them if you try. Most of them were last updated circa 2010.

This blog has been a casual project for so long. I never expected it to land me a job. The editor at the paper is a friend of mine, so he saw when I occasionally posted blog updates on Facebook. He knew I could write and even used my material once. When he asked for a couple quotes about the high school mountain bike team, I was casting around for a new pursuit. I asked, "Are you hiring?"

By some serendipity (or lots of turnover at the paper), he was looking for a reporter. I had no experience or education, so I scored the job merely by dint of knowing lots of people in Teton Valley, and by promising I could discard blogginess and replace it with AP Style.

I never wanted to be a journalist, but I've really enjoyed moments of it. I'm scared of interviews but I love it when people get on a roll, running off at the mouth about something they're really passionate about, and then apologizing that they've been inarticulate. Never apologize about that. Only apologize about being monosyllabic.

I love being edited, even though I sometimes take poorly to criticism. When the other reporter debates my grammar and syntax it raises my hackles, but talking through a piece with the editor is exciting and revelatory. He's great at taking something I've already given up on and shuffling my words around so that I no longer hate it. And I'm better at ruthlessly cutting out flab and passive voices and anguished phrases now. (But I can still do whatever I want in my blog, so there.)

I also think local journalism is more important than I, as someone who never used to pay attention to news, ever realized. It's about cutesy stories and repetitive event previews, but it's also about holding local politicians accountable. Informing people of decisions that were made at meetings they couldn't attend because their kid had hockey practice. Attempting to present all sides of an argument in an atmosphere that has turned so vindictive and polarizing.

My trajectory towards adulty mileposts like marriage was recently interrupted, but working at the paper is a huge step towards doing what I Want To Do When I Grow Up. And that happened because I started a blog. Because all the bike racers were doing it. Life is funny.

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