Friday, September 1, 2006

LIFE: Adios, News-Review

So today's my last day at work as we begin the long and winding journey that takes us to New Zealand. It's a weird feeling – I've been working here 4 1/2 years, far longer than I've ever worked at one newspaper before. I didn't quite think I'd be here nearly 5 years when we drove up in March 2002 — I was just glad to flee the snow-bound hills of Lake Tahoe, which were utterly gorgeous but crammed with ice half the year, and tourists the other half, and impossibly expensive to live in. Plus, I really had gotten tired of political head games with my then-bosses.

So anyway, Roseburg looked nice, and I'd always wanted to live in Oregon. The paper was great, still part of the same company but quite autonomous, and a six-day daily as opposed to the mostly weekly papers I'd worked at up till then. I've learned a hell of a lot here, far more than I did at previous jobs. It's mostly been a great experience, some ups and downs, but I leave it with genuine regret rather than "Oh my god I can't wait to get out of here" feelings. Yeah, I've been ready to go for a year or so, but that's mostly because I'm an antsy restless personality. (Or to quote The Replacements, "Look me in the eye / and tell me that I'm satisfied.")

I figure I've been here for about 1,500 or so editions of The News-Review, edited countless stories, written 100 or so in-depth feature stories, about 350 movie, music and book reviews, a hundred or two editorials, won a dozen or so ONPA (Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association) awards and watched the newsroom staff roll over a couple times as it tends to do at small papers. I'm ready to move on. Thanks to everyone I've worked with here for making it a fun ride for nearly 5 years.

Giving up your job willingly is always an odd sensation, like diving into the deep end without a rope. I did this once before, in 1997 when I migrated from Mississippi to California without a plan other than "find a job," and I gave up a pretty fun job then too just to avoid staleness. Of course, then I didn't have a kid, wife etc. So there's a certain amount of crazy fear with doing this, of realizing we won't have a steady paycheck till November or December at earliest. But it's cool – we've got savings, and are ready to have adventures. God knows I don't want to be one of those people that spend 20, 30, 40 years at the same job at the same desk. Better to be a little uncertain and have stories worth telling, I figure.

We're going offline as we wrap up our preparations to move back down to California, so no blogging for the next week or so. If you want your fix, hey, buy my book!!

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