As I sit down to write this, the last ASJA Confidential column, the lyrics of the Beatles tune “Hello Goodbye” run through my head. Being an avid Googler and sometimes procrastinator, I looked up the discography of the song and was somewhat bemused to learn that Paul McCartney wrote it about duality: “Man, woman, black white, ebony ivory, high low, right wrong, up down, hello goodbye,” he says. He was “advocating the more positive side of the duality,” which was what I attempted to do in the 4½ years of writing this column that featured ASJA members, conference speakers, guest columnists and sometimes-controversial topics.
While I am feeling my own duality about this farewell, I recognize the need for change, as when the Confidential switched from a bimonthly online newsletter a couple of years ago to a weekly column, part of the ASJA Weekly. Change is part of the life of a freelancer, and our currency is adaptability. While it can be unsettling at times, adapting to change serves us well as we advance through various stages in our careers. Speaking for myself, what I was looking for ten or even five years ago is not necessarily what I am searching for right now. That goes for life in general, it seems.
Another interesting side note about “Hello Goodbye” was the fact that Paul tried to enlist Alistair Taylor, assistant to the Beatle’s then-manager Brian Epstein, to create the chart-topper. “It’s dead easy. Anybody can write a song,” McCartney reportedly said after which Taylor replied, “Oh, come on, Paul. Don’t be silly. If that were the case, everybody would be writing.” And while they pooled their collective creativity, throwing contrasting words back and forth in front of a piano, the finished product was nothing like supposed collaboration.
So it is with writing. While it’s true to a certain extent that anyone can write, it takes guts and perseverance to write well. Even the simplest topic contains underlying, demanding nuances and research to uncover new threads and fresh ideas to pull in the reader. This requires time, patience and most importantly, a willingness to take chances.
So while I am sad to see this column cease, I also see it as an opportunity to try something new. ASJA continues to grow and evolve as an organization; I have been proud to be part of it as it has progressed throughout the years and as it continues moves forward. I worked with many wonderful people, including past president Sherry Paprocki, current president Milt Toby, publications chair Laura Laing and the endlessly patient staff at Kellen. Not to mention the dozens of members who generously provided their knowledge and insights, whether through interview or features… or ideas or columns they’ve contributed.
But to paraphrase another popular tune, “I’ll be around.” And will continue to utilize many of the wonderful advantages ASJA has to offer. Thanks, everyone. It’s been a good run.
All of us at ASJA thank you, Sandra, for your tireless work at the helm of Confidential for nearly five years. Change is hard, and we’ll miss your voice in this space. Take a look at Sandra’s previous columns. And stay tuned for the new Confidential, appearing on the first, third and fifth Tuesdays of each month.