Monday, August 17, 2015

Nine Times, and Thank You

I wanted to do it. I wanted to.

Somewhere, in the back of my brain, I knew I could write. I knew I had a voice.

My friends - a couple of them - did it. It felt like a challenge.

So I jumped in also. I started a blog.

Exit 55 was born nine years ago today. Nine times I've celebrated this thing (now maybe you can understand the title and the picture of Ed Rooney).

That first post rings true. I'm still annoyed that the old Yankee Stadium is gone. You know that, no doubt.

We've waged war on so many topics. We've celebrated triumphs. We've dumped tons of emotion around these parts. Sports? Oh yeah, we've talked just a wee bit about them. Travel? Music? Movies? TV? Life? A kid named Sean? Yeah. All of the above.

We've dealt with heartache and heartbreak. New beginnings and some endings.

I've made mistakes. I've shared too much.

We've visited the past, as we try to do every year on September 11. This is that first one, from 2006.

I've backed down a great deal. I don't write as much. I delete more than I used to (or leave drafts simmering, as I did last week).

I've nearly walked away from this countless times. Not because I don't want to do it anymore, but because I feel like I should. I like having readers, and I like fostering conversation, but having a small, dedicated group of visitors here works also.

I've nearly walked away because my voice had been quieted, largely by my choice. I can't be as open or honest as I would like to be. Common sense dictates it, but I also find it sad.

There's more as to why I've almost stopped. I've lost confidence as a writer, despite the thoughts of several people who have been huge supporters. I used to just write. I generally trusted my language, my spelling, my grammar. It's like I've forgotten the difference between they're, their, and there.

I said "like." I haven't forgotten. It's just a expression. Sadly, I make that mistake way too often.

I always get affect/effect wrong. Check to see how many times I've used either spelling of that word. I'm willing to bet it's one one hand.

It's been a challenging nine years, but it's been fun also. Things ended. Things began, then ended. And again. With offers to eat excrement and perish, too.

I've been loyal and honest. Often to a fault (yes, that's a reference to the last sentence in that last paragraph).

I forged an idea that I'm deeply proud of. It started as a radio station. It ventured into video. It's now a network. I always wanted to work for a network. Specifically, NBC.

Vin Scully and Dick Enberg were both on NBC. That was enough for me.

Proud as a peacock, indeed.

Along the way, through these nine years, we built friendships. Some because of the blog, others maybe strengthened by it.

Others hurt and damaged.

I officially became a writer, and dare I say, I respected print reporter in early 2013, when I went to the Wilton Bulletin. It's also fair to say my confidence began to dip as a result.

Then again, I've always been a work in progress.

With this post, we hit 2199. There is so much more to say. So much more to do. I've thought about ending it at 10 years, but I don't know. Let's just see where it goes.

I've always enjoyed the journey anyway.

There has been support from many, and I'll forget someone. But Jon, Harold, Mick, JK, Susan, Paul, Jason, Tim, Sean (Kilkelly, that is, though Adams also), Shawn, Kato, Ryan, CJ (ErJuan of ErJuania), Dave, Tony, Jim, Brian, and Kris have been among the many names who have ready many words, if not all of them. (Again, as always, I know I forgot to name a name. I try.)

A few of those names are in the deepest circle of trust, and know me better than anyone. I think they know who they are.

Some, honestly, have read none. Not a single one. Yet they've supported by just being themselves.

So many people in Greenwich have been wonderful. That dates back to the late 90's.

I wish more people in my own hometown knew.

Too many radio friends have been supportive. Newspapers friends. Media friends in total.

Family. Mom, Laura, Doug, and all of my nieces, nephews, and great nieces and great nephews.

The good people that I've never met, or barely know, like all of the guys and girls who enjoy the open highway.

None of you have blinked an eye when the topic resorted back to my dad, my son, my job, my life, my world, the Yankees, the Steelers, Huey Lewis, or roads. Or anything else.

We've covered a lot of ground in nine years. That first post was conceived, largely, on August 16, truth be told. I worked up the courage to hit publish the following morning (the time stamp says 7:00 am).

So year 10 has begun. I really hope, one year from now, we're all in a much better place.

As always, let's keep moving forward.

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