I’ve Stopped

planning the prom at Somerville High School

A couple of weeks ago I stopped writing the column I have been producing every week since the fall of 1980.

This is what I looked like when I started. I’m the one in the puffed sleeves, I should say, the one with the post growing out of her head.

in  those 35+  years, I never once missed a deadline.

I leaned in, you might say.

I wrote it recovering from an early miscarriage and the fierce spinal headache that put me back in the hospital two days after the D & C.

Two years later, I wrote it as labor began and finished it in the hospital the morning after the birth of our third child.

That time, my husband took the copy home, typed in the final two paragraphs I had composed there in the hospital, photocopied it and put it in the mail to all my subscribing papers. (Transmitting a thing electronically to a newspaper was almost unheard of infancy then – heck,  faxing seemed to us all like a literal miracle – and for years there, filing the column meant quite mailing two fat handfuls of envelopes.)

But this past summer, for the first time ever, I did take a little time off, only because the media group who was my biggest customer needed to cut its freelance budget,  and knew for first time what it felt like to be on  vacation. I enjoyed the break, though I felt kind of floaty as week after week passed and I stayed silent.

But slowly, slowly over that time, I began to realize that for quite a while now, Change has been knocking at my own personal door. And so, a couple of weeks ago, I notified all my various editors to say that I was quitting.

The Winchester Star’s Melissa Russell who is among the most talented editors I have ever worked with, did this piece about my stepdown.

In the next little while I’ll come back to the topic of what it has felt like to stop doing a thing I have long been doing, and maybe I can ask you others what that experience has felt like to you.

No longer the girl in the puffed sleeves with the wannabe Farrah Fawcett hair  I am content to be  just Terry,  just another blogger, peeping away in that vast blogger meadow.



19 thoughts on “I’ve Stopped

  1. Hi, Terry. I’ve never seen your column, but thanks to our mutual friend Bill Tammeus, I’ve connected with your blog. I look forward to your future as a writer, and to enjoying your ongoing commentary on life. FWIW, most of my favorite editorial writers and columnists at the local newspaper are now walking that road.

    1. Barbara thank you so much for this lovely vote. I have so many emotions around this, relief at being free of a deadline and the sense of a missing limb among them. I look forward to coming to know you through this connection. Any friend of Bill Tammeus after all…!

    1. I can’t have written that teen talk column for very long because I don’t remember him. I think I only did it for a very short. Sophomore year and I can’t imagine that I did a good job. 🙂 I love your story about that gig though!

  2. Ever since those way-back T&G print days, I’ve looked forward to what you’ll say next. I hope your next isn’t too far ahead.

    1. Wow that was way back in 1983 or 1984. I think that’s when I began writing for the Telegram and Gazette. Thanks so much Peggy for this “Vote.” I am hoping for the very same thing. Let’s be sure to stay connected!

  3. Congratulations and best wishes to you as you adjust to a life with one less regular deadline. I hope you enjoy the added freedom and can keep some of that hard-won space for yourself!

    1. Ah thanks for this! It is so strange : the more time you take for yourself the more you realize what you have missed in not doing more of that in life. I feel like I am just waking up from a long dream of overfunctioning… much to learn it looks like: much to learn still. 🙂

  4. That is so sudden. It’s like the doctor telling you not to stop your medication without the go-ahead. Otherwise, who knows what might happen. Oh no. You made the right decision because it is your call, even though your readers will suffer withdrawal symptoms. I first read your column when it appeared in the Patriot Ledger, and I knew you were a real writer! You always will be because you are driven to write. Right?? We will all look forward to your blogs, so keep them coming – in between just taking it easy!

    1. What a perfect analogy even if I don’t think I deserve it. I have definitely not been writing very much lately even here on this blog, but the day before last, I sat up in bed and began talking a possible blog post into my phone (because that way it comes out as more of a unified story – plus I can’t sit for very long with my back problems now.) Anyway it felt very good. I guess I’m just waiting for the old energy to return. Thank you so much for these words of encouragement ( for such do I take them to be. ) It’s wonderful for all of us to know you are there Joan!

  5. i’ve always loved reading your writing and i am so glad i even got to meet you that one evening at borders many moons ago! i’m so excited for you and your new beginnings. you are a force and what a blessing it is to have your energy and words in my days.

    1. How can I ever deserve such warm remarks? I am looking around right now from my energy and is soon as I find it I will go back to regularly blogging. Thank you so much for your support dear lady. I remember that night as if it were yesterday!

  6. Great writers never stop….they just change direction, Terry. Always loved reading your columns in the Sun (and even proof read them on occasion when I filled in on the copy desk in Lifestyle). I predict you will be like me and enjoy life immensely without that weekly deadline grind. And I also know that you won’t stop writing. You’re just changing direction. Believe me, it’s energizing. Cheers and good luck!

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