That this is where it all began, all this KC Confidential stuff. It was last Valentine’s Day when Hearne hooked me up with two tickets to review Carol Burnett and said those now fateful words that I’m sure many of you have heard;
“You owe me”
In exchange for said tickets I wrote the review for KCC. Eleven months and nearly 100 stories later, in the words of the great American philosopher, Jerry Garcia, what a long, strange trip it’s been.
What have I learned along the way?
Well, for starters I try to keep my stories under 900 words, so there’s no way to answer that question in so short a space. However in summary, it’s been a far more positive than negative experience.
Writing has been a closeted interest of mine since I was briefly the City Editor of The Chart at Missouri Southern University. Hearne forced me out of the closet – so to speak – some 30 years later. Thanks to his prompting, not only have I had the pleasure of writing here, but the columns on my Mom’s death and my Thanksgiving “Silence” piece were picked up by six newspapers.
And as of last month, I have an agent who’s making a kick-ass living representing “B” level celebs trying to put together a syndication agreement for me to do a weekly column for small town newspapers. She’s an old classmate but it caught me totally by surprise when she called.
Apparently not all “dead tree media” got the message that they’re dead.
NPR recently stated that, “In the age of Internet media and 24/7 cable outlets, more than 20 million Americans still get a significant amount of their news from small-circulation daily and weekly newspapers — so much so that hundreds of papers have been targeted by growing national chains.”
My writing style apparently lends itself to that genre; the part Hearne calls my feel good, sensitive guy stories anyway. And having that opportunity would not have presented itself without his prompting, so I thank him for pushing me into doing something I’ve totally enjoyed.
Stories that you think will have a huge impact don’t register a blip on the radar, at least in terms of the comments section. And ones you wrestle with to write or aren’t very pleased with, go bat shit crazy!
We scooped all Kansas City media in predicting Restoration Hardware would take over the entire Halls Plaza space, but practically zero response comment-wise. I stepped out on a limb and predicted the outcome of the Sprint-Dish-SoftBank merger when no one had enough facts to make the call. I was not only right, but predicted it two weeks before any other media came to that same conclusion. For weeks if you Googled the proposed merger, my story was in the top 5 links.
“The Aleatory Side of Life,” about the death of my Mom, still draws emails from all across the country.
There has also been the lesson of sticking my nose out there for anyone who chooses to lead with an anonymous left hook from the shadowy darkness. Here’s my position on that having borne some scars from doing so:
Still I refuse to hide behind an avatar when the real issue is the cowardly commenters who feel self empowered to say things they would never dare say to my face or using their real names. They are the ones with the problem and lack of spinal support.
I’ve never been afraid of cowards and I don’t plan to start now.
You’re free to comment any way you choose until it comes to personal threats on my family or comments so vile they cross the line of legality and basic human decency. Craig’s experienced it; Harley has; I have and it can be over the top. But there just isn’t a point where you can ever say someone “deserves” it when it crosses those lines.
Harley can be a pretty easy target, but at no time do I have the right to say what I’m going to do to his girlfriend while he’s tied to a chair forced to watch, and what I’m going to do to him after I’m done with her!
I don’t care if you think my wife is pretty or dog ugly. I don’t care if you think she has the best or worst voice in the city. You’re free to express either opinion; that’s part of the game. But when it comes to sexual threats or threats of violence, that’s where it stops.
Appropriate actions were taken, apologies received and stories removed.
That would not have happened if I wasn’t legally in the right is my take.
Out of that experience came a series of overdue stories and posts on how ugly comments sections can get. I appreciated the support of Harley (of all the people), Stomper, Craig, Hearne, Chuck and anyone else who took a stand saying enough was enough and there really are limits.
Thanks to each of you who had the testicular fortitude to take a stand. You are the few.
On the other hand, shame on the cowards who wanted to twist the real issue and make claims that I was going to sue anyone who “didn’t like jazz” or who didn’t like my wife’s voice. Shame on you small-minded, little people who want to pretend to be a friend to my face but made salacious “anonymous” comments as late as this week, while hoping to continue to fan the flames.
Give it up! It’s nothing more than your own self-hatred, self-loathing, turned outward in your lack of ability to cope with your own nothingness.
And keep this in mind; while you abandon your usual comments section monikers for the occasional, ongoing “anonymous” nasty comment, spend some time correcting your poor grammar and writing styles. Make it at least a small challenge to figure out who you really are.
I think most readers know what the real issue was.
My advice to the people who made those depraved comments: Muster some intellectual integrity or at least have the courage to say those things to my face. You know who you are and you know how to find me. What’s more, I have a pretty good idea who some of you are.
Karma’s a bitch and she’ll deal with you all on her own.
In a nutshell, that’s the story.
And thank you for the personal emails I’ve gotten from readers offering support as I’ve gone through a handful of difficult weeks with a little too many death, grieving and health issues to explain.
In short, there was no UFO abduction, no mystery, I just needed some time off.
In the wee hours of the morning on October 30, I became the senior patriarch of the “Wilson Family.”
And I didn’t deal with it as well as I might have. Some people claim to be on top of their games 24/7. More power to them. Grief comes in waves. I thought I was soldiering through but I was wrong.
I took a few weeks off, got away, traveled and regrouped.
If you find yourself in a similar place, don’t let it creep up on you. Talk to someone, get some help – it’s part of the cycle of life.
Thanks for the welcome back messages, now let’s get this train back on the track.