We are tired of hearing how this was a year like no other--the loss and chaos is unprecedented. Even if history points toward other pandemics, economic declines, or profound loss, this year is the only where we watched in real time. We heard the vitriol, lies, sadness, and despair in the first person.
But there were also moments of light. We watched front-line workers with huge hearts and inexhaustible waves of hope show up every day besieged by catastrophic loss and fear. In our own communities, protected from the onslaught of disease and death, we masked up, stood in lines--6 feet apart, and tried to comfort each other with kindness, generosity, and most often simply acknowledging that we indeed see each other.
Professionally I was unable to travel. Scheduled talks and speaking engagements were reimagined or canceled. I slowed down. Waaaaay down. The National Press Club Journalism Institute had a small idea. Would a few of the interested members care to meet over Zoom to support one another, participate in a writing task for discussion, and quite often simply guide one of us through a challenge or celebrate a success. We met more frequently in the beginning but even recently still found time in our schedules to gather twice a week. I learned a lot about how different our paths were then and how many of us redefined what the future will be for us in reimagined careers or different work environments. A small idea grew.
The little video below is humbling. A Pulitzer Prize winner, accomplished author and many others share what journalism or the NPC Journalism Institute meant to them during this time. I was recorded extemporaneously from one of our casual zoom discussions so although the production quality is low--I am happy that I was selected to share what I gained from these months of community and gathering.
Find a group, find others to support you and support them back.
More importantly, discover why you write--and whom you want to write for.
To be an ideal guest, stay at home.—E.W. Howe
Happy new opportunities, new perspectives, and a more hopeful and generous new year.