Newspaper Column: Happy Anniversary

This week’s column for the WIR.

August 8th, 2012
Quietly Contrary: Happy Anniversary
By Mary Eileen Finch


One year ago today the very kind editor of the Western Itasca Review asked me if I would be interested in writing a weekly column for the newspaper. My first reaction was an overwhelming sense of worth, how thrilling it was to know that someone else had read my work and wanted to share it with her readers. My whole body was overcome with validation. My second reaction was to hesitate. I was unsure if I was up to the task. I had been a freelance writer for many years but the only gig that had required a deadline was a monthly magazine column I had for a while. I didn’t know if I would be able to come up with a whole new idea every single week. What if I ran out of topics? I remember thinking “That’s 52 subjects I’d have to pull out of a hat!”

The support and encouragement I received from my friends and family calmed those fears right down. Their belief in me pushed me along and I can honestly only remember one time over the past year that I was stuck and grasping for a topic. And that ended up turning out just fine as I wrote about not being able to write. It was a win/win situation.

In more ways than one, little did I know just how much my innocent little column would enhance and broaden my life.

Let me count the ways:

I was able to see my family in a whole new light when my husband smiled in pride as he helped me edit my pieces and my children would fight over who got to read my column first.

I gained the guidance and wisdom of not only Becky, the editor of this fine paper, but my work also reached other papers that connected me with editors that have become some of my closest friends.

I felt a sense of community and connection through my readers who always take the time to let me know how my words have affected them and how much they enjoy the way I view life.

I was completely blown away by all the locals who opened up their homes and hearts to me in order to ensure that I had an exciting and enjoyable Minnesota winter; those memories will last a lifetime.

I was able to fully embrace my personal quote, “Every moment is a story, just waiting to be told.” I began to see the world through new eyes, eyes that didn’t just pass over situations but instead saw moments that needed to be shared.

There were, of course, some humorous aspects as well. One day I was at a store in Grand Rapids doing a bit of shopping. While I was in the feminine hygiene aisle an elderly gentleman walked up to me and said, “Hey, are you Quietly Contrary?” I ended up having a pleasant, if somewhat awkward, conversation with him as I stood there with the biggest package of tampons known to man in my hands and a slight blush on my face.

Thank you, dear readers, for following along with me on this journey, for all the emails, letters, and stopping me on the street. You are the reason I keep going, you are my inspiration, and I hope I can continue to share my stories, as well as yours, for a while yet.


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