I am tucked away in a coffee shop on Lansdowne Street with a cup full of coffee and a severe lack of inspiration… It is a sad day.
An earlier hot bath and a short-lived chocolate binge could not bring up the endorphine levels… some days are too glum for that. Some news are too.
The Kamloops Daily News will roll out its last pages on Saturday; it was announced today. Economic crunches and such forced a sudden closure. Sudden is tough. Sudden is good someone said, because at least you know what you’re dealing with, no prolonged agony. Sudden is sudden.
An unexpectedly powerful feeling of emptiness sits inside of me like a big mean shadow.
For losing a connection, for something being ripped away from the community I came to belong to and for the unfairness of it all.
The paper was not perfect but it had good people that made it happen, and bubbles of goodwill peppered all over it. It had a heart.
I have come to be connected to the paper as if it were a friend. I did so in a little bit more than a year. Some people have been there for way more. Their sadness surpasses mine by miles.
The owner of the coffee shop comes by. We talk about the paper, the loss of a familiar thing. A sign of the times, he says. True. We talk about the stories that will keep happening, pieces of life that will be lost without the net called Daily News to catch them just like one catches rain water…Fresh.
He says come by and write here, this place will continue to be. I will. A continuation… A good thing.
I trace back the story of my building the short history with the paper. A first interview with my heart pounding – I was after all, just a stranger, recently landed in a city where people seemed to have tight connections, with each other and with the place itself – landed me a job as the new columnist.
I was both excited and apprehensive. I learned a lot, through having my pieces edited, ever so slightly, but what an eye-opening experience every time. I learned to keep being myself but structure thoughts and build nice stories for people to read at a pace that was melodious enough to make them send personal notes my way. Gifts.
I evolved as a columnist through the feedback from readers, some of whom maintain regular correspondence to this day.
I have, as expected, become attached to something that was part of home. The undeniable connection was fuzzy warm and comfortable to have.
I came to love deadlines and the rush of changing a topic swiftly before sending it, simply because I felt like I should deliver something worthy of reading and thinking about.
I loved my dialogue with people, I loved the challenge of a new topic, the funny feeling of starting to know readers’ personalities simply by knowing their screen names.
A couple of times I tilted my head while reading the comments but I have since learned to recognize familiar voices of people I will never meet face to face, but people who read my words and through that became part of my world as they allowed me to be part of theirs.
A trade of thoughts and openness, wrapped up in an unmistakable feeling of belonging to the same place, and seeing the same sunsets drape over the same cinnamon-hued mountains.
I will miss the paper. An unlikely friend I’ve become so attached to…
But I don’t like farewells. I’ve had one too many to deal with.
I will keep my KDN folder as I will all the Saturday editions. I’ll learn just from looking back at how far I’ve come since that day when I walked into the editor’s office, heart pounding and acting very grown-up but wondering afterwards if I spoke too fast or too unclear…
Thank you, KDN.