What It’s Like To Work In News

Thanks to Keith Miles for this photo of me, which he took at the city's kickoff for its 35-year planning process.

Thanks to Keith Miles for this photo of me, which he took at the city’s kickoff for its 35-year planning process.

When I was a reporter in The Tennessean’s Williamson County office, one of the things I could count on was a daily phone call from a cranky but hilarious school board member who absolutely loved to gossip about his fellow board members and make outlandishly inflammatory accusations of school administrators.

These calls were frequently conducted from his bathtub and often he’d be smoking at the same time. I know this because I could hear the splashing and exhaling. Also, because I asked him. If a man is naked when he calls, it’s best to know it up front.

Anyway, this guy is on a long list of characters I’ve been graced to know because of what I do for a living.

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The Top Seven Rainbow Bright Moments of 2012

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I’ve decided 2012 is the Year of the Rainbow.

For my friends and me, some of the happiest moments have come at the tail end of some deluges, both figuratively and literally.

Here are the top seven. …

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Oh, Tennessee: Do we see ourselves as others do?

Oh, Tennessee.

Sometimes you remind me of me when I was newly single and starting to date. I was so eager and caught up in my own tender heart that I had no idea how I came across to other people. Sometimes it worked out regardless, and much of the time it did not.

I had baggage. Not Civil War kind of baggage, bless your heart, but a (civil but still painful) divorce… Continue reading

The Sweetest Little Moments from 2011

Keeneland; Lexington, Ky.

In no particular order, though I numbered them just to make it easier to read – here are some sweet little moments from my 2011. I think when you’re having a great time, every little bit of it sparkles.

1. Lily in the Heathrow airport: It is a complicated airport and we were racing to catch our connection to Bangalore, India, and we had to ride a shuttle, a train, and pass through several security clearances. Just getting to this point had been a bureaucratic nightmare, and I think my mother and I had our doubts we’d ever get to India. My daughter Lily, 9 at the time, never waivered. My favorite moment is standing on a shuttle, feeling a certain peace at our lack of control over the situation. I looked at Lily and she said very calmly, “We’ll make it.” I thought for the first of many times on that trip – Damn, she is so grown-up.

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When Awesome Stops By

Spotted him on Christmas Day, 2011

Sometimes you look for Awesome, and sometimes Awesome finds you.

Awesome rescues you from a blown-out tire at 3 a.m. Awesome brings you dinner when you haven’t shopped and caffeine when you’re hung over. Awesome finds a Golden Girls marathon at midnight and then a Jersey Shore marathon when there’s a sad, Rose-misses-her-dead-husband episode.

Awesome runs with you – 11 miles on New Years Day, the park after work. Awesome rides with you – through weird places and beautiful ones … awesome places. Awesome cheers you from the marathon course, and Awesome puts you on the back of his motorcycle.

Awesome flirts you up in a random airport. He holds you in the hotel bar. Awesome pushes you against the window of an Italian restaurant, and he cradles you in the rain. Awesome carries you across the parking lot and loves you outside in the cold.

Awesome tells you, “I’m giving my uncle a kidney.” “We’re adopting a baby from Africa.” “I’m going to live with your grandmother while she recovers.”

Awesome hand-sews you a black pencil skirt. Awesome builds you a fire pit. Awesome makes her own marshmallows, and Awesome goes to Paris alone. Awesome saves her bake sale money and buys her best friend an American Girl doll.

Awesome dances on tables. Awesome sings with the band. Awesome plants things. Cooks things. Fixes things.

Awesome climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro with her mother. Awesome moves to be close to her daughter.

Awesome reads. Studies. Prays. Paints.

Awesome starts an absurd conversation before 7 a.m. Awesome says to her mother, “This fish only lives in waterfalls that are only in caves. More high maintenance than you.” Awesome says to his daughter, “You are a great kid, and we will work all this out together.” Awesome drinks tequila at noon on a Monday because the conversation needs to continue after coffee. Awesome comes to your house for Christmas.

Awesome keeps a blanket in the car because you never know when it might be a good time for a picnic, and flowers in the guest room because you never know when More Awesome might stop by.

The One Thing vs. The Whole Thing

Guest appearance at Lipscomb. I was invited by Dr. Jimmy McCollum, who serves on The Tennessean's Advisory Board.

“I’m a journalist. I work at The Tennessean. I’m in charge of The Tennessean’s websites.”

This is how I’d answer questions like, “And what do you do?”

A strong community brand had become my own personal identity, and the rest of the things that could have made me a better, richer person were neglected at the expense of my professional goals. Continue reading

A Living Will

A living will:

If I am ever incapacitated…

If I am ever chained inside my body or – God forbid – my mind…

If I am connected to machines to keep me breathing, and if I’m disconnected from the world that has kept me alive, please, please dear loved ones, know this – Know I am still here. I am still a part of this world. Do these things for me: Continue reading