By Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard
It’s been a good run.
After five years of writing this column for the Times-Standard, it’s time to call it quits. I don’t think I can put my feelings into words, but I’ll try.
When I made my reappearance in the world after years of crippling depression due to my PTSD in 2006, I took on the roll of publicity director for the first North Coast Stand Down in Ferndale. The event was meant to “Give veterans a hand up, not a hand-out.”
As rewarding as it was to work with homeless veterans and their families, I only did it for two years because it took a mental toll on me. Putting myself “out there” was no easy proposition. I wasn’t used to being around people. I still avoid large crowds.
The good news was, it whet my appetite to communicate with people. Glenn Simmons, editor of the now defunct Eureka Reporter, offered me some space on the Op Ed page in 2007, and I was off!
After the Eureka Reporter folded up, I hooked up with the Times-Standard and the rest, as they say, is history.
The words that wouldn’t come out after all those dark years of battling the disability that forced me to retire as a newspaper editor, began to flow once again.
I was able to look at the daily news and not get angry because I had an outlet. Writing. Purging myself on subject after subject was a positive experience and I settled into a comfortable groove. After 265 columns (give or take a couple) the time has come to close this chapter in my life.
Five years have passed in a blink of an eye. After over 30 years of living in Humboldt County, my beautiful wife and I are moving to Oregon. I never thought I’d move from this area. I should have known better. Never say never. Life is too unpredictable for that!
I can’t say I had a particularly favorite column. To me, each had its moments when readers commented and I got feedback.
I am proud of one column I did about Humboldt County not having a prescription disposal program like most of the rest of the country had at the time. A man I admire, Jimmy Smith (then Country Supervisor) read the column and got proactive.
Thanks to Jimmy, we now have an excellent prescription disposal program on the north coast. He took positive action as opposed to some other local pols who felt I was trying to embarrass them!
Writing an OP ED column can be a merry game. It can also get old. Forgive me, but my interests are going in new directions.
I’ve been a consultant for Learnist this last year, a hot new social learning website. I get to create and curate learning boards on practically any topic you can name. Politics and News are what I’m most known for, but I’ve done boards on everything from world travel to Elvis Presley’s first concert!
So you see, I won’t quit sharing things with people. The benefit of being able to do my job from home is immense. I still have PTSD. It doesn’t go away. You learn to live with it. Working online has been a resurrecting experience for me. It started with this column, which has a history of appearing in four different newspapers.
Why leave Humboldt County? That’s harder to explain. I don’t want to say anything bad about it. I’ll always love this area. I have family here, so I’ll return to visit from time to time. The climate change won’t make much difference to me as I’m indoors more than out. It is just time.
I can’t begin to thank everyone who has encouraged me to write again, and those of you who have read my column on a regular basis. You know who you are, so I won’t embarrass you by saying your names.
I cannot end this column without acknowledging and thanking the following three people:
* My dear friend Margaret Searles, an author and editor who lives in Mckinleyville and whose invaluable input on every one of my columns is deeply appreciated.
* Times-Standard Assistant Editor, Mark Valles, who I’ve had the pleasure of working with for just over a year. His strong editorial and copywriting skills have the editorial page looking better than ever!
* Times-Standard Editor, Kimberly Wear, who I worked with for several years prior to Mark. I enjoyed her small talk about her family. Especially around October when she took her daughter to the Pumpkin Patch in Arcata. Always the professional, she’s a nice person to know.
I guess that’s about all I have to say about that…other than thanks for the memories!
As It Stands, it’s time for me to walk on down the road…