Surprise hello, sad goodbye

Over the weekend I made a last-minute trip back to Ohio for two things: 1) The impromptu Columbus Alive farewell gathering and 2) my nieces’ dance recital. My visit was a surprise for all but about three people I saw that weekend, and man, I gotta make more surprise visits because the reaction was amazing. I felt so loved! Thank you guys. <3⁠

I’m bummed Columbus Alive newspaper closed. That job validated to me that I am a writer. It gave me so many experiences, discoveries, and friends. Alive’s end is a loss for a community I once loved and I hope the professionals still there find a way to fill the hole left in its wake.⁠

My top two Alive experiences came at the beginning and end of my time writing for it: ⁠

2) Seeing Nina West perform while covering Drauma for the paper early in my tenure and returning to the newsroom with a mission: Convince everyone we should write about her AMAP because baby was a S-T-A-R. Shelley was more than game. Covering drag and affirming it as an Arts subject area and creative pillar in the city was a big deal to us 12 years ago, especially under the ownership at the time.⁠

1) Getting to know Alix Reese was an honor and writing about her changed my understanding of writing. I always felt insecure about my extreme disinterest in chasing down a lead or ASKING THE HARD QUESTIONS™. In journalism school I once had to go cover a fire at a movie theater and I thought the whole time, “I’m in the way. I really hate this.” I wasn’t cut out for hard news. I do not have the right kind of emotional stamina for it.⁠

But I recognized with Alix’s feature that what I brought to the table was important too. My emotional stamina is built for a different kind of writing, and the storytelling it generates can be just as valuable as the hard-nosed journalists getting the scoop. ⁠

A newspaper needs both.⁠

Alix’s feature showed me that when I put my own understanding of life into a piece of writing — particularly about a story as powerful and moving as hers — I can do something meaningful. It’s less obviously important than breaking news, but it still mattered. ⁠

So did every version of Alive and its many contributors. ⁠

Farewell, friend.