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Writing a regular column that appears each week on the op/ed page of a weekly newspaper can be a challenge. Coming up with ideas isn’t the problem, filling the space with a timely, well-written, piece can be difficult. This column started years ago, at the request of my editor, K. James Cook, or Big Jim as he was known by those of us who worked with him each week. For more than 10 years Loose Ends was usually a humorous, wry, look at life. It was opinion based — solely my opinion and not that of the paper. It filled space a couple of times a month and was located on almost every page of the paper at one time or another.
As a part-time feature and column writer, I wrote about the subjects that interested me. The picture of a frayed, knotted rope and black edging set it apart from the other articles and served those who were searching for my column. It would be tempting to say the community seemed to look for the column, so much so that after giving it up for a few years, I went back to writing it with a vengeance. Not so much. While readers did call and write notes, I couldn’t stop writing a weekly column because I liked it so much.
The last official year of Loose Ends in its first incarnation, I was busy with teaching full-time, two young children, and being a long-distance caregiver to my dying mother. I wrote a series of columns about some of the issues facing children of aging parents. That column reflected my opinion once again, but served to help others in the same situation. When asked by Herald Times editor Bobby Gutierrez if I ever considered writing a weekly column again, I said I was interested but in a bit of a different format. I wanted to narrow my focus to writing about the effect that this community’s boom and bust cycle was having on its unique western traditions. Loose Ends was moved to a regular space on the editorial page and has been appearing fairly regularly for more than five years. It is time for a change, for both Herald Times readers and for me.
Hopefully, a new column, Casual Conversations, written by community contributors (from both Meeker and Rangely) will fill this space. The local writers who would like to be considered for this new column need to submit at least two “local interest” columns between 500 and 700 words in length. Those chosen for this opportunity must be willing to provide two columns a month for the following year. Meeker and Rangely contributors’ columns would appear on alternating weeks, so writing two columns and sending them to the editor at the beginning of each month would be required. This is a prime opportunity for those readers who would like to have their two cents heard (on a regular basis). Get writing, readers!