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.