It was late fall, 2013. My transcripts were being analyzed by a University of Southern Maine counselor as I looked on. I only had about 24 credit hours left to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
“I don’t care if it’s in underwater basket weaving – I just want to accomplish this before I turn 50,” I told her.
With that in mind, the counselor proposed three possibilities that would help me finish my long sought-after education before I entered my fifth decade. I only remember two of the three degree choices she proposed.
“Leadership and Organizational Studies is one option,” she began. “Or…. you could get a degree in journalism/communications. That might be a great option for you since your writing skills indicate you might fare well in the industry.”
Since I had been an active leader in several organizations in Portland at the time, I opted for Leadership and Organizational Studies.
“Besides,” I told her. “I am a creative writer, not a reporter. I will never go into journalism.”
Ironically, the leadership program turned out to encompass a writing intensive curriculum and improved my writing skills immensely.
There is the saying that goes; “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.”
Here I am seven years later, signing off as editor of The Windham Eagle newspaper. So much for not walking in the field of journalism.
For the past four years, I have put my heart and soul into this weekly media news source. I believe in its mission to provide ultra-local, positive, and solutions-based news to the readers of Windham and Raymond. I also believe I have taken it to its next step – giving it character and energy. But I must admit I have taken it as far as I can.
This is where Ed Pierce can take it from here. Mr. Pierce, with his 45 years of experience in the field of journalism, will propel The Windham Eagle to the next level. Very seldom do I see life as black and white but in this instance, I am convinced that Mr. Pierce is your man. (For his full story see the front-page.)
Although I am signing off as editor, I am not signing out completely. Whether you like the energy I have given to The Windham Eagle or not, I am still here none the less and will continue in my personal creative flare as a writer. I will also be busily at work on my book of essays and helping to co-author a book on leadership.
But – I cannot sign off without sharing my gratitude. This is where tears blur the words of appreciation as I write my last Insight.
I have gained friends along the way that include reporters Elizabeth Richards, Matt Pascarella and Walter Lunt. I have also gained a kindred-spirit with reporter, Briana Bizier who I have relied upon to edit my future book of essays (manuscript to be completed in September).
I will sorely miss being teased about my shoeless office attire by Gerry Collins and the quiet, friendly smile of Don Perreault that greeted me in the mornings. I’m saddened to say goodbye at a distance to Ben Parrott, Tricia Griffin and Karen Mank whom I haven’t seen in eight weeks, as they have been working remotely since March 16.
Then, of course, there is the phenomenally amazing Layout Editor and Ad Manager, Melissa Carter. I have never loved working with anyone more than her. I would have never been able to pull off the production of this newspaper without her creative expertise and our collaborative efforts.
There are, of course, the Publishers Kelly and Niels Mank (and the four Mank ‘assistants,’ Keith, Kaila, Brandon and Brian) The Manks have supported me in so many ways it is impossible to list everything. They put their trust in and believed in me more than I believed in myself. If it were not for them giving me this opportunity, I would not have had the confidence to become the writer I’ve aspired to become.
I must not forget you - our readers who encouraged me to follow my dreams. “You need to write a book of essays based upon your ‘Insights,’” I’ve been told by some. Or as one supportive reader once urged, “Have you started writing your book yet? You need to get on it. What’s taking you so long?”
As much as I never thought I would enter the field of journalism, I did not think I would be saying goodbye as your editor today. But life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
Ed – take it from here.