Candace Cooksey Fulton
To be honest, certainly, I have to say it’s a relief “Horizons” is done.
Done to the point that it’s inserted into today’s paper, and it’s way past the point to change a comma, correct a misspelled word, rewrite a paragraph or take another picture. Not that it would be necessary to do any of those things, and, between you and me, it may be months before I know. I’m at the stage where I think it would be best if we, as in “Horizons” and I, “had a little time apart.”
Honesty being the brutal beast that it is, I should probably also admit that it’s not too early to begin next year’s “Horizons” edition. And the honest-to-goodness truth is, that’s not going to happen either.
Often the hardest part of “Horizons” — in fact the only part I actually detest — is the part where we’re supposed to get started. That’s because we don’t get started, because we’re doing other things that at that moment can’t be delayed any longer because we didn’t start those in time; because when we were supposed to start those, something really important and timely has interfered and the really important things had to be done before the stuff we were supposed to be starting could begin.
Whew. I’m glad you understand what I mean.
Somehow I think you do.
“Horizons,” like with most job and life projects, falls into the category of what my used to call the “swamp syndrome.”
Daddy used to say, “When you’re up to your knees in alligators, it’s hard to remember that your original intention was to drain the swamp.”
Well no, in fact he didn’t say “knees.” Now a couple of weeks ago, when I quoted my mom on the “cold as a well digger’s shovel” thing, she did say “shovel” though it seems most of the world had heard the saying in reference to a lower extremity of the body. My dad used a term referring to the same extremity.
The word Dad used rhymed with mass. The word my mom did not use but could have, would have rhymed with mutt.
All this is to say — No, I’m not actually including the mass / mutt thing in the “all this” parameter — there’s a lot of struggle that goes into the production of something like a “Horizons” edition.
Is it worth it? We want to think so. Is it our finest work? Technically, it probably is. The quantity of work and magnitude of the production qualify “Horizons” as at least that. But — again the truth — the difference is that “Horizons” is in addition to regular work.
I feel blessed and privileged to do what I do. I’m thankful for the stories that come my way to write on people’s lives, the missions and accomplishments that improve our community and world. Every day I’m glad for the opportunity I have, and proud to be a part of a staff that accepts the responsibility for reporting the news of this community.
It is, however, a sort of secret of a community newspaper’s purpose, that our greatest work stands on a foundation of what should be our routine. Our routine, judged by some as our truly most important work — the obituaries, calendar items, engagement and wedding announcements — requires our equal dedication.
I’ve long said producing a daily newspaper is a lot like a dog walking on its hind legs. The quality of the performance isn’t as much of a requirement as the fact it can be done at all, and our readers can depend on the fact we can do the trick.
We want to get it all right. And when it is done, the presses have rolled, the pages inserted, we want to say — and mean — we’ve done our best, and we’ll keep trying.
Candace Cooksey Fulton’s column is in the Brownwood Bulletin on Sundays. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.