Back in the Saddle

By Guy Chapman

Yes We Can

It’s been a while since I’ve written a proper column. My intention was to maintain a regular writing schedule on social media during my unemployment, but keeping consistency during job searches with a pandemic in the background ended up providing a lot of distraction.

Even past the regular paycheck, I’ve missed the working atmosphere. I’ve missed the structure, the routines, the interactions with people, and the feeling of something new happening each day. After a period of introspection, I resolved that my unplanned time off needed to be more than movie nights, sessions of Animal Crossing on my Nintendo Switch, and simply waiting.

I’ve always been a writer. Even in periods of my being an entertainer, I eventually return to being a storyteller. Working more locally based, both for my book and in a journalistic capacity, gave me the opportunity to tell not only my stories, but others as well. People want to be heard. People want to have experiences through other people’s eyes to know they are not alone.

In the four-plus months since my last official writing, I’ve had people reach out saying how they’ve missed my writing and my presence. I’ve struggled with maintaining that presence under the backdrop of COVID-19, a virus that some hoped would “be gone in a few days.”

Then again, the lack of activity for the last five months has felt like one long and continuous day, so perhaps the optimistic timetable still holds.

But I’ve waited. And people still kept coming to me for stories. “I can’t do that right now,” I’d reply, a response met with surprise and disappointment. “I can’t” started feeling less certain, in time becoming more “Can’t I?”

After four-plus months of silence with no projected recovery plan in sight, I decided that “Yes.”

“I can.”

You can’t have a community news source without community involvement or investment. That’s lacking in the majority of local coverage news. Read any populated comments section, and people who would help each other on the street, jump at each other’s throats in an online environment. It’s an unwanted product of the world we’re in these days.

And yes, there is an argument to there being more to reality and life than simply “good news.” But there is room for it.

I’ve started this project because I believe in the community. In turn, people have believed in me and encouraged me to start writing locally again. A lot has changed since I’ve returned to the place where I grew up, but those early experiences found here inspired me to go live a life full of big ideas. If I can help return that optimism of pride and unity where we are, give people a voice and a resource, and help Corsicana progress not to just “The Good Old Days,” but perhaps something better, it’s time for me to get up and stop waiting for a phone call that isn’t coming.

Life goes on, and things are still happening locally. We need a break and a reminder that there’s still some good out there and we have a lot to offer. So it’s time for me to return to the forefront. Keep in mind this is going to start small, and not everything will be covered right out of the gate, but we’ll get there.

One story at a time.

Categories: Opinion