When I left Eureka Springs to go be with my fiancée in April 2009 I did so with a heavy heart. I'd loved my job reporting for the Citizen more than any other job in my life, and I knew on that level I was leaving something very good for the unknown and could be making a terrible mistake.
Which was true, fiancée-wise, but as it happened I ended up spending nearly three pleasant years writing content for the web site for the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, one of our state's finest private schools if not the finest.
So when I was offered the opportunity to come back to Eureka and the Citizen, better yet as editor(!!), I was both tremendously excited and somewhat trepidatious. Could I do it?
For many hours I'd sat across the room from two terrific editors, Bill King and Vernon Tucker, and though my tenure with Bill was brief, I spent months with Vernon, watching him rolling with the news day in and day out, and after awhile I started to learn the rhythms myself. You get hooked.
So I am here. Those of you who remember me I hope will be glad to run into me in the street, on the way to city council meetings or going down to Chelsea's to hear the music on a Friday night. For those of you who don't know me yet, we'll meet soon enough, I hope.
One thing I want to stress especially in this first column of mine in three years is that while Eureka Springs can be a cantankerous community, this is the result of its diversity, and its diversity is its strength.
Opinions are like noses -- everybody has one -- and there would be something deeply wrong if we all agreed about everything. And something very dull. It is a big perk of this job that we do not.
We are a surprising and unique community, as you'll realize every time you run into the glaze-eyed and drop-jawed tourists who flock here weekends to enjoy its treasures. We're either on the bus or off the bus, as Eurekans, and we know who we are. We must hang together, as Benjamin Franklin put it, or we shall all hang separately. Despite our differences.
I strongly encourage those of you interested, who have contributed letters or columns or photos or anything else to the Citizen, to please consider again doing so. It is those contributions that distinguish our little paper from so many others in other small towns I could name but won't, that are barely newspapers at all. It is these contributions that give the Citizen its unique flavor.
I don't necessarily think other towns have less news than we do, I just don't think a lot of papers care to bother with it.
I do want to bother with it. In addition, we are instituting a couple new features in the paper shortly, including a food column for any foodies out there, a photo-of-the-week feature, and, as in the past, we hope to continue to receive guest columns which bring distinct alternate views to the attention of the public. This week also marks the beginning of a weekly Poetry feature and a weekly Fiction in a Flash feature, both contributed by gifted writers from the Writers' Colony.
We don't all have to agree, nor is that possible, but we are all Eurekans together, and it is from that perspective that I embrace this job and anticipate much excitement and hard work that comes with continuing to make the Citizen the success it has been all these years.