Early in my career, a fellow writer and sometimes mentor said that he didn’t always know what he thought until he started writing.

That was a freeing thing to hear. The fear of the blank screen vanished. I didn’t have to know exactly what I was writing before I started. I could discover what I was thinking along the way. I could re-write again and again to make it clearer, fixing any flabby thinking and respecting the reader, because what is writing if no one reads it?

We all read to better understand what others are thinking and to adjust our thinking accordingly, writers most especially included.

Which brings me to this morning’s topic, writing to better understand a hella lotta thinking that happened this week, because this week, I quit my job.

Until Tuesday night, I had a good job that has become increasingly rare — a full-time journalist for a family-owned newspaper. The job didn’t pay particularly well, but I enjoyed the work and I was fairly good at it, so it had its own reinforcement loop that didn’t have a lot to do with money (does it ever for a writer?). I felt I was serving the community I love. I’m sure some people thought it was unnecessarily tough love at times, but I hope we can just agree to disagree there. Sorry, Charlies, sometimes the truth is really tough.

So as I climbed the hill that my job was about to die on, I was surprised at my courage to keep going. Then I saw that my feet held because they kept finding the truth. I may not have uncovered everything there was to know, but what I did know to be the truth was this: who and what was important to me might die (not exaggerating) if I didn’t keep going to the logical finish.

It’s not the first time in my life that I leapt knowing in my heart that the net would appear.

To sum up the thought for the day, I grabbed a few of my favorite lines from my upcoming book with co-author Shahla Ala’i (which luxuriously now has my full attention, a good thing because we have to deliver to the publisher in about six weeks), Love and Science in the Treatment of Autism: 

Love may be the only thing that is not fragile in our material world. Love makes a great bet. Love gives our lives meaning. With love, we forge through troubles and make progress. Love makes a family. We know we will fail sometimes and that love grows in learning from those failures. Love helps us through periods of being unlovable ourselves, or of not loving others.

We keep choosing love, above all. 

 

 

23 Comments

  1. Janemarie Clark on July 16, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    Wow! So excited for your future, Peggy! And I want an autographed copy when it’s ready. I’m always inspired by your ability to find, and stick with, your True North. Love friend.

    • Peggy on July 16, 2020 at 5:57 pm

      Thanks, old friend. Please stay safe and well.

  2. Kathy Spinelli on July 16, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    I’m a bit sad that my hometown no longer has you as a truth teller and advocate, but I am thrilled for you, as I know that you will go on to do big (even if scary!) things. Congrats on making the leap, and I definitely want to read the book when you’re done!

    • Peggy on July 16, 2020 at 7:01 pm

      Thank you, Kathy. Love you, and send love to your dad, too.

      • Carla Hamm on July 16, 2020 at 11:23 pm

        Oh, Peggy. You have certainly left your mark on the Denton community. Job well-done. Your thoughtful, measured words will continue to serve. So happy you can linger over your latest book. I’m looking forward to lots of shared stitching and a glass or two with one of my favorite of friends!!

        • Peggy on July 16, 2020 at 11:46 pm

          Stupid virus. This fall, maybe I can bring my umbrella chair and sit under one of your big trees and watch you stitch through the window.

  3. Ann Hatch on July 16, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    You have always been more than “pretty good” at your job. Many of us have depended on your accurate and often investigative reporting for the real story. Congratulations on spreading your wings and flying into the next chapter of your life!

    • Peggy on July 16, 2020 at 7:01 pm

      Any advice you have about making this chapter successful, Ann, I am all ears.

  4. Julie Buchanan on July 16, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    I will miss your byline for sure but totally support your decision. Things will open up for you that you haven’t had time to think of. I still mourn the loss of my daily paper DRC but I’m old! I still read it every day. Local journalism is so important. I’m glad you were a huge part of it for as long as you were there. Best to you in your new ventures. Your book sounds like a great resource.

    • Peggy on July 16, 2020 at 7:55 pm

      Julie, when the symphony went bankrupt back in California, Mark’s phone rang off the hook. He was surprised at first, and then not. We both remembered what a bountiful world this is. I’m going to take a break from local politics for a while, but I’m sure at some point we, the community, will have to talk them off the ledge of something stupid. LOL

  5. Mark Spencer on July 16, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    E L Doctorow, I think regarding writing fiction, said it’s akin to driving at night with the headlights on. You don’t see the reventual destination.

    • Peggy on July 16, 2020 at 7:57 pm

      I’m not a fiction writer. I’m not that talented. As Mark Twain said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”

      But I do appreciate the sentiment about not always seeing what’s ahead and that it’s ok.

  6. Debbie Ingram on July 16, 2020 at 8:20 pm

    So sorry that one of our last great honest informative writers is leaving! You’ve always written with great integrity; and I loved your stories! Sometimes it just gets to be too much – I understand! Enjoy the new directions you go, your family, and your time to do whatever you want!! You will be missed!!

    • Peggy on July 16, 2020 at 8:21 pm

      Thanks, Debbie.

  7. Les Cockrell on July 16, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    Hey, Peggy, good luck with the book and future challenges. I hope you remain well and successful. Take care.

    • Peggy on July 18, 2020 at 1:14 am

      Les! So good of you to darken my door. Hope you are well, too. Stay safe.

  8. Dan Hammond Jr on July 17, 2020 at 12:12 am

    A thank you doesn’t seem sufficient. Your reporting was indispensable in understanding the essential workings of Denton and the machinations underlying the plot lines. We are grateful for the many hours spent immersed in your writing. I will miss the *crickets* on Twitter during those moments when Dentonites should be making a racket. And don’t dismiss fiction. Connie Schultz put her Pulitzer on the shelf for awhile and had her novel published last month. I’d love to hear behind-closed-door dialogue coming from power brokers in a town like Denton. Good luck with your manuscript. Thank you.

    • Peggy on July 17, 2020 at 3:15 am

      Gosh, Dan, I just don’t know what to say. Thank you for reading. Thank you.

  9. Annette Fuller on July 17, 2020 at 1:33 am

    I can’t wait to read your writing again in this new project! You are going to love this new life!

    • Peggy on July 17, 2020 at 5:28 pm

      Confession: already do.

  10. Annette Nevins on July 17, 2020 at 2:24 am

    Wow. I didn’t see this coming Peggy. I will indeed miss your reporting with the DRC. But I am looking forward to reading your book. Great storytellers never finish writing. They just evolve. Best wishes on your new journey. You’re gonna rock it.

    • Peggy on July 17, 2020 at 3:10 am

      It’s a wild, wild year. Looking forward to seeing whatever you write this year, too!

  11. Nancy LeMay on July 25, 2020 at 12:11 am

    So glad you are defying gravity! Cue the song from “Wicked.” I know you’ll succeed and I look forward to reading more of your writing in whatever form it takes.

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