Small Wonders: Out of gas at the end of the line

July 26, 2013|By Patrick Caneday

I never set out to be a newspaper columnist.

The gift was handed to me like a candy cane from a mall Santa. Take it, or pass it up and get a corn dog. Writing a weekly column was something I never thought I could do. And I am so thankful I was proven wrong.

Last time, I wrote about decisions; how not knowing what's around the next bend in the road might actually be a good thing. Knowing too much can make you turn away from what lies ahead.

Columnists have the privileged license to spout their opinions for the world — or at least their local corner of it — to digest. I've given much advice in my columns over the last five years. And I've decided to take my own.

So this will be my last column.

For some time I've had the gnawing feeling that I've said all I have to say in this forum. I wrack my brain each week to tell you something of meaning and worth while being unable to shake the notion lately that it hasn't been too meaningful or worthy. So it's time to move on.


It's not you. It's me.

I've written about religion, politics, society, family, entertainment and just about anything else the editors tolerated. As a local newspaper columnist, I've been decidedly un-local. I've written about amazing people, places, things and every other noun I could parlay into something somewhat interesting.

Last December, the news visited me personally; I wrote about a lifelong friend who took his life in newsworthy fashion as reported in the paper, doing my best to memorialize not death, but a life that deserved remembering.

What's left to say after that?

Except for a 14-month stint as an unemployed house-dad, I've been writing this column every week while employed full time. It's been the creative passion in an otherwise workman-like livelihood.

Between career, family and the column, there's little brain space left. So I've decided to sacrifice the column in hopes the muses find it pleasing and bring me new inspiration and accomplishments in the mincing of words into ideas.

I may be back. If the editors will have me. But it would be a disservice if I didn't write these 800 words as if they were my last. I have plenty left to say, but I am going to try saying it in different ways now. Shameless self-promotion alert: if you've liked this column, watch my website — — for blogs, book excerpts and more.

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