It was for the better, it was a wall of good

The following column appears in the 4/30 issue of The Glendale Star and the 5/1 issue of the Peoria Times, and, in the context of those publications, it is also my last. I have accepted a new position as a writer elsewhere, in a much different capacity, because YOLO. How this affects the personal writing in general and this blog specifically remains to be seen, but this is a very positive development for me and I am excited so please don't kill my vibe. I mean, I love you.

When you really think about, which I do often, there is no reason I should write the things I do in this newspaper. It wasn’t long ago I wrote an entire column about how I have belly button lint—using a different hygienic issue, armpit stains, as a wonderful lead-in. Taken out of context, that makes no sense. Taken in context, that makes no sense. WHAT IS THIS? is a question I couldn’t blame you in the least for asking.

My answer: I don’t know. I never really did, I guess. I tried to keep it local at first, but there are only so many topics you can poke at with a stick, and it became a chore. So I started writing about my life, about silly things, about my girls and adoption, about underwear that has a pouch for your testicles, about folding sheets, about hating scorpions and losing my sunglasses, about my family … mostly about my father-in-law. My publisher and editor never told me to stop, so I didn’t.

Thanks to that patience and your unusual interest—or, possibly, indifference—I found the voice I had always sought. I aimed for humor, of course, but that is subjective and laughter is but a small miracle from above, out of my hands. While I can’t say for sure what seemed to connect, I suspect it was that opening up my life helped you realize you’re not the crazy one—we are. My daughters are your kids; my father-in-law is your father-in-law; my underwear is your underwear, although not literally because that is gross and also you are a woman and don’t need a pouch.

The writing I enjoyed the most growing up and to this day was honest and personal, and that is what I tried to do, for better or worse. SPOILER ALERT: It was for the better, for me at least. Your support gave me the confidence to write books, and your physical presence gave me the great pleasure of signing one for you, an indescribable feeling of self-satisfaction and pure, unadulterated joy.

As I move on to new ventures in life, I want to say thank you for reading this column. What it has meant to me to be able to do this is beyond words, and I am a writer, so there.

I had a bulletin board in my office here where I tacked on all the kind things you ever wrote to me. It was as full as my heart is now, and I called it the “Wall of Good.” (It includes a hand-written letter from Nancy urging me, on the heels of a column I wrote about my, ummm, digestive issues, to eat almonds to stop the “fire in the belly.” Man, you guys are THE BEST.) Below it was the “Wall of Bad.” It contained only two notes, one criticizing the column for being self-indulgent—it totally was—and the other one simply read, “stop Kenny articles.” Today, good sir, I tell you—you got your wish.

Thank you all for granting me mine.


troy said…
So whatcha doin'? Fully prepared to congratulate you, but first I want to make sure you're not leaving to write IKEA assembly instructions or something.