Is anybody reading this column?

Published 7:15 pm Saturday, June 8, 2013

Some weeks when it comes time for me to sit down and write my column, I feel completely inspired, while other weeks, I feel like I’m writing for an audience of one. That’s because my column, where I’ve poured out little parts of my soul and shared my truest thoughts with you, sits tucked away on an inside page, typically in a Saturday edition of the Times-Journal, and I never really know if anyone reads it — besides my mother, of course.

I send it out there into the world hoping someone will read it and have some sort of response — a smile, a nod in agreement, a difference in opinion that sparks discussion or maybe just feeling like you know me a little better. Most of the time, however thoughtful, clever or funny I thought my column turned out to be — I hear no response.

Did anyone read past the news headlines on page one today? Did anyone want to read a behind the scenes take at some of this week’s news, find out more about my fear of animals or hear my thoughts on the future of Selma?

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Sure, I’ll get the occasional email from someone who appreciated the extended story I wrote in my column — details that weren’t covered in the news story I wrote earlier in the week I thought were interesting enough to share — but those emails are few and far between.

This week however, I was reminded I was not writing for an audience of one.

While out covering the low country boil at the Old Depot Museum Thursday I had not one, but four different groups of people approach a fellow reporter and I, just to say hello and let us know how much they enjoy reading our stories and that they are so glad we’re in town. Even though we didn’t spend more than five minutes chatting with them about the event and all the crazy things that have been happening in the news this week — comments and compliments like the ones we received stick with us.

As I reflected on my week, looking for those standout moments I felt passionate enough to write about in a column, I knew I had found them in those few passing comments.

To the people who smiled and said they genuinely appreciate the work we are doing at the paper, to the ones who said they always enjoy reading the stories we write each day and to those who just wanted to let us know how glad they are that we are in town — I want to leap out across the pages of this newspaper and hug you all. Those people didn’t have to say anything at all. They could have popped another crawfish on their plate and waved in my direction and I would have been happy, but they chose to speak up.

It’s funny how comments like those come in the moments you need them most, which is why I have to speak up as well.

I realized that some of you may also feel from time to time like you’re just living and working for an audience of one — and I’ve got to speak up and say it isn’t so.

Selma, although currently clouded with what seems like nothing but bad news, is a wonderful place to live. The people here are caring and compassionate. We are among some of the most beautiful, historic sites in the South and it’s time we gave this city and each other the appreciation it deserves.

A quick word of encouragement can go a long way — and you never know who might be impacted by your words. So with that, I want to say that I appreciate you — the person reading this column and the person who is out making this city great. You make my job worthwhile, and I feel privileged to be able to step into your lives each day. Thank you for letting me become an active part of this community.