First off, I will ride my bike in preparation for a 50th-birthday trip with my twin sister. We plan to cycle through the wine country of Napa and Sonoma. Despite being an avid cyclist and a 36-year resident of California, I have never visited this classic cycling destination.
We will visit wineries, eat five-course gourmet dinners and stay at swanky spas where we will have a variety of elaborate body “treatments” and massages each evening.
My sister, who is not as gung-ho a cyclist as I am, has declared that, although I might out-ride her, she will out-eat, out-drink and out-spa me.
I have studied the menus at some of the restaurants and spas we will visit, and I can’t decide which is more elaborate — the food or the treatments.
In truth, I don’t know what half the ingredients are for either the meals or the massages. I expect the whole venture will be obscene in its excesses — and I plan to wallow in it.
Other retirement projects include climbing 50 peaks during my 50th year. I’m calling the endeavor 50@50 and plan to blog about it.
Then there’s a yoga teacher-training program, and the small matter of shepherding my 12-year-old through her high school years.
As I said, I’m not one to lie about. While a respite from relentless weekly deadlines will be a relief, I know I will eventually need to find worthwhile work to do, whether paid or volunteer.
Author David Whyte says that what we all really seek is “good work, done well for the right reasons and with an end in mind.”
I have been with Feather Publishing for the last seven years, five-and-a-half as managing editor. I chose to do this work because I felt it was the best way I could serve my community at the time. Since then, I have consistently found the work itself to be meaningful.
For me, it’s always been about the reader, not whether I liked or disliked someone or thought a decision was good or bad. The questions for me were always: What does the reader need to know? What does the reader want to know?
During my time with Feather Publishing, I have developed an abiding respect for community newspapers. While it’s easy to mock some of what you find in small weeklies, they fulfill a deep need and wield great power in their communities. And they do so with few resources.
I once read a definition of what community papers do:
We find and report the truth. In a small community, this often means rumor control.
We nurture a sense of community. To me that has meant including as broad a cross-section of people and ideas as possible in our pages.
We authenticate our people’s place in history. It gives me great pleasure to visit our archives (which stretch back to the mid-19th century) and know that 100 years from now if someone wants to understand what life was like in early 21st-century Plumas County, my work will be there for them to use.
By and large I think we at Feather Publishing do those three things, and will continue to do them. I am handing the reins into the very capable hands of Dan McDonald. Good luck, Dan! This job will call on all your professional and people skills. It’s a tough job, but very rewarding.
I’d like to acknowledge and thank reporters Kate West and Alicia Knadler, who have been with me for my whole tenure. Kate, I’ve always found you to be professional and dependable; Alicia, I have appreciated your good nose for news and your can-do attitude.
We’ve hired a number of great new reporters, including Sports Reporter James Wilson and Staff Writers Laura Beaton and Samantha Hawthorne, in the last few months and I look forward to seeing how they grow into their roles.
Thanks go to my very able copyeditors Ingrid Burke and Mona Hill, who toil behind the scenes. A lot of what you do goes unnoticed, but if you did not do it as well as you do, readers would definitely notice.
Most of all I want to thank our readers. It has been a privilege to serve you.
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