Seven years ago I started writing On a Brighter Note. The idea behind it was to write slice-of-life stories from a positive perspective, and often from a personal one. Over the years I covered a variety of topics, usually whatever was top of mind as my deadline rapidly approached. A lot of it was lighthearted everyday stuff anyone could relate to. Other articles were more serious, dealing with issues such as mental illness, societal dangers and death.
I will continue writing, but I won’t be doing it through this weekly column anymore. Coming to that conclusion wasn’t easy, but now that I have, it feels good to be letting go.
Moving forward I will be focusing on getting a book I have inside of me out. My personality requires a great deal of obsessive dedication in order to make that happen, and for that reason I will be “hunkering down” as my Papa used to say.
I love newspapers and I always have, so I will continue to submit to them whenever I’m inspired to write about a particular topic. In the meantime, I’ll take this opportunity to thank the editors who have published my articles and the people who have read them.
I realize there’s a never ending supply of reading material out there with newspapers, magazines, books and online content, and it’s a privilege for any writer to find an audience. I’ve received many incredible emails and letters over the years and I’ve kept them all. I’ve also hung on to some of the angry ones, even from people wishing me dead. Those weren’t my favourite of course, but it’s the price you pay for putting yourself out there.
It wasn’t what I anticipated when I first started, but I didn’t know what to expect. I simply felt compelled to write something I thought I’d like reading myself, and I was fortunate there were some people who thought it was worth their time.
I was very lucky to have the opportunity to work with two fantastic artists. The first was Keith Funk who illustrated my articles the first eight months, and sparked the idea for the column in the first place. And then Jim Hunt, a brilliant cartoonist who lives in New York. He was way out of my league with major clients like Mad Magazine and Google among others, but he was interested in working with me anyway. What a blessing they both were.
I’ll thank my loving family as well since they were incredibly supportive and terrific fodder for my writing many times over. With the exception of the dogs, I always asked for their approval before sending it out, especially when it came to anything that could embarrass my kids. Unlike them, I wouldn’t have liked my mom writing about my brother and me in any newspapers when we were children. But I was excruciatingly shy — Sam and Daisy are not.
What lies ahead is unknown. I do have a detailed plan, but I’m old enough to know that the way we envision things doesn’t always work out exactly the way we want. I also understand that when we have an overwhelming desire to do something and the ability to do it, we owe it to ourselves to go for it before it’s too late. Life is short, and there are no guarantees. Some cherished loved ones I’ve already lost and a couple I’m in the midst of losing remind me of that fact every day.
This is the last installment of my weekly column and a new chapter of my life will now begin. This is not a goodbye, though, it’s more of a “see you soon.” And thank you.