Ageism, nepotism, and getting over the bitters

Yes, it’s been awhile.

Sorry about that. I was preoccupied with gathering up the pieces of my life after the jigsaw puzzle was abruptly thrown into the air. Oh yeah, it was me who chucked the whole neatly arranged picture skyward, and honestly — it wasn’t all that abrupt. I could see this coming for awhile.

It began in January, when a new, young, and very inexperienced publisher took ownership of the Winters Express, of which I’d been the managing editor for 26 years. The day he took charge, I’d already had more experience managing a community newspaper since breakfast than he’d had in his whole life.

Rather than sit back and learn from my experience, he resented it and resisted it. The feeling was mutual. In my mind, he was dismantling everything I’d invested nearly half of my life in. I assume that in his, I was hindering him from making all his grand plans come true. “Because this is the correct way to do it” locked horns with “Because I’m the owner and I say so.”

Irresistible force meets immovable object.


One of us had to go, and given that the irresistible force was now the owner, well, I exited stage left in May. I guess the notion of “immovable” has its caveats.

Rather than belabor a point I’ve already made elsewhere, you can read my exit column for the Express, as well as my exit column for the Davis Enterprise, for which I wrote a column for 23 years. Sadly, because the new Express publisher is also the son-in-law of the Enterprise publisher, family ties forced me out of the Enterprise as well.

Am I bitter? Oh yeah. I’ve got a bad case of the bitters. It’s surreal to be marginalized when you’ve accumulated as much experience — and success — as I have, and then suddenly be shoved into the “too old and too expensive” column, but it is what it is.

What it is, by the way, is a noxious cocktail of ageism and nepotism, and if you’d been forced to gulp it down, you’d be bitter too.

Yeah, yeah — I know this sounds bitchy and petty, but here’s the thing about being bitter: It’s like pus — the only way to relieve the pain is to lance it. And yes, it is a big, oogey mess, but ya gotta get all that poison out before you can heal. This is me, doing that. And yes, little by little, it’s getting better. Healing takes time. But it happens. You get up, you move on.

So, here it is, my side of a sad, ugly story, now you’re all up to speed, and this is the last you’ll hear about it. But I had to write something, because it would be really strange and weird to just keep on keepin’ on as if nothing had happened, as if nothing was different. That wouldn’t be the truth, and it wouldn’t be genuine. In 27 years of writing opinion, I’ve never hidden from the truth, or the truth about myself, and I’m not starting now.

Ah well… a new chapter can’t start until the old one is finished. And the old one is definitely finished. As for the new one? Well, I’m beginning it now. I’ll be blogging, I’ll still be a contributing columnist for iPinion Syndicate and finally — finally — I’ll have time to finish the unfinished books, novels and screenplays languishing on my iMac and taking up disc space. I’m a great starter… not such a great finisher. That deadline was my Mistress, whipping me along and making sure I’d produce something printable each week. Without any deadlines staring me down anymore, I guess I’ll have to be my own Mistress now. And let’s all take a moment to be thankful that you can only see me in print and not in that black leather corset.

Anyway, here we are — cut loose, cut free and running wild. Where will we go? I guess you’ll have to stick around and find out.


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