Well today is my 58th birthday, and I celebrate it by starting a new job - I'm going to the managing editor of The Clarksville Times, the paper in Clarksville, Texas, in Red River County. I'm going back to work for the people I worked for, for seven years before the Mount Pleasant Daily Tribune was sold to a corporation.
There are a number of positive things about the change. I don't have to move, I will be able to commute. In fact, after all these years of having to be circumspect because of living and working in the same city, I can become a regular citizen and taxpayer in my hometown. I can get involved in some things I couldn't before.
Going from working for a newspaper owned by a corporation to one locally owned will be a great improvement in working conditions and hours. Many, many years ago, I told a friend of mine - after having both worked for a corporation-owned paper versus local ownership - that when the day comes I would entitle my autobiography "I Escaped From a Newspaper Chain Gang."
The change in schedule, going from a daily to a weekly, will enable me to spend more time on my fiction writing. After I was bounced from my previous job at he end of last week, I spent a nice 45 minutes chatting and getting caught up with Joe Lansdale Saturday. We talked about many things, but his parting observation was "You need to write a novel."
In fact, I got a start on it yesterday, 3821 words. It's an alternate history set on a Mars colony thirty years ago, with the working title of "1985".
The situation reminds me of what happened in 2002, when - after having owned and operated my own small community weekly paper for six years (which was a very time consuming undertaking), I had to admit defeat, close down, and get a "paying job".
The demands on my time were so much less that I had the chance to try my hand writing fiction. By that fall, I was submitting stories, I had my first publication in 2003, and I was published in Asimovs in 2005.
Another plus go the new job is that I'm free to pursue free lance opportunities. A magazine editor in Dallas wants to talk to me about doing some work for her. I may meet with her before the end of the week.
I'm proud I hung in with my old job as long as I did - since July 2007. In the end, since wouldn't walk the plank for the corporation, they had to throw me overboard. It's their loss, I say.