It’s a little more than a month before I head to Iraq, and I’m reasonably well entrenched in my new job, so it’s time to get back to LPJ. The last two months, between the job transition, classes at Plymouth State (fulfilling prerequisites for the masters in economics I hope to someday chase down), and freelance projects for the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and Northern Community Investment Corporation have had me to the wire for weeks. In the next several weeks, however, things will start to slow down, just in time to grab some bulletproof and head east.
I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of stories out there lately. There are more than I can handle. I’ve had a great time reporting on the Mount Washington Hotel’s effort to trademark “Mount Washington,” and the struggle over the privileges long-term pass-holders at Wildcat believe they deserve, but at the same time the Gorham mill has kept flipping turbulently toward an uncertain future.
I’ve been putting feelers out in the North Country for ways I can stay connected, because of the sense of community there, but at the same time I’m looking further abroad as well. I’m trying to get a story together on the Southern Sudanese in New Hampshire, and how they feel about that election, and possibly make the connections to go report there when the referendum happens in January. But that’s six days before I head to Iraq, so I have a hard time seeing that happen.
It’s all storytelling in my eyes: print, radio, photography, etc. And I am a far cry from getting enough of it. There are two compelling stories I want to cover—the rural American one, and the international one. Sometimes it’s hard to choose. But right now, with classes and projects and work, it’s been neither. I’ve been consumed by the day in front of me, barely able to put the plans together for the bigger, more profound stories.
But now that pace should be slowing down. Now it’s time to look for the stories first, and the outlets second, instead of finding the outlets that tell me what the stories will be. My projects may be slowing down, but I’ll be picking up speed, working on those things I have a passion for.
Iraq is step one. That trip, while obviously a work trip, will be a chance to test out one aspect of these two possibilities. As long as I come home safely I will have learned something about what direction to go.
And with this “slowing down” hopefully I’ll be able to polish off some of the stories that have been sitting for months. I have a Peru piece to finish, and a woman in western Maine to interview about how it feels to be the epicenter of the foreclosure scandal. I’ve got stories I’ve been trying to chase down, about immigrants, about industrialization and about energy, that have had to sit because I can’t hold on to all of them. Now, as things slow down, I’ll be speeding up…