Reporter Tyler Francke reflects on the town and his work at this newspaper
Im no old pro, but I have been playing this writing game for what seems to me like a pretty long time. Its been long enough anyway, that I cant even remember the last time I sat down at a computer with dread in my stomach, with a blank white screen before me that I had no idea how to fill and with that frightful specter some call Writers Block threatening to rear its ugly head.
This, however, is one of those times.
These farewell columns are so darn hard to write. Honestly, I dont know why we make ourselves do it. Saying goodbye is hard enough; saying it in 800 words or more is torture.
Nonetheless, here we are.
Beyond what Ive already subjected you to, Ill make every effort to spare you the tired old tropes and clichés. You wont see me trot out any Parting is such sweet sorrow Shakespearean melodrama, and the day Im ever caught quoting the Grateful Deads Truckin in a goodbye column is the day I give up my notepad and pen for good.
So, instead, lets just cut to the chase. Its been only a year and change that Ive been a welcomed part of this community, but its been a very good year indeed. And though Im excited for the next stage of my lifes journey to begin, I must admit that its not without some sadness that I move on.
I may not be dead or in a band, but all the same, I remain immensely grateful to the many local government officials, police and fire personnel, business owners and entrepreneurs, farmers, artists and authors and, especially, all the residents who make this little corner of the Pacific Northwest so special and who have made my job here at The Newberg Graphic the best that any reporter could dare hope for.
Newbergs motto centers on growing, and indeed it is growing fast, and many people grow many beautiful things here. But if it were up to me, Id choose a different g-word to describe the town. From what Ive seen, this area is all about giving.
From the throngs who opened their businesses, vehicles and ultimately, their pocketbooks, to help a beloved local pet store get back on its feet after a devastating fire last December, to the tiny group of dedicated volunteers that has made the St. Paul Rodeo a massive success for three times longer than Ive been alive, giving is the common thread woven through most every story thats come across my desk.
Its that same spirit, I believe, that has carried Newberg and Dundee through some very dark times the past year. The loss of a child is never easy, and by my estimation youve had more than your fair share in recent months. But even in your grief, Ive been amazed by the way you give, even to me, as youve shared your pain so that healing might take place and future pain be avoided.
Its convinced me that a person and a community that gives is also one that refuses to give up, and thats a lesson Ill never forget. So, thank you all.
As for me, my next stop is not a new job as much as an entirely new focus. Ive long been fascinated by the intersection between faith especially, but not exclusively, religious faith and the real world (not the TV show), and Im feeling drawn to explore that much more in depth. Earlier this year, it led me to the completion of my first novel, and the bulk of my time and efforts in the near future will be put toward seeing it published in some form or fashion.
Ive got no shortage of inspiration for some other long-form projects as well. I know its not an easy road that lies ahead, lacking even the relative security of the newspaper industry (which isnt exactly at the heart of Stability Street itself these days), but I think its at least worth my best shot.
You may still see my name pop up in these pages for a freelance assignment here and there, but for the most part, youll remain in the extremely capable hands of the editorial, advertising and production staff that have formed the strong heart of this institution since long before I came around, as well as the next new reporter who Im confident will have no trouble filling my shoes and then some.
If you have any interest in staying in touch, you can follow my latest exploits online at tylerjfrancke.com. Thanks again, for everything, and keep reading The Newberg Graphic.