Here's an early look at my print column for Thursday -- always glad for any proofing help before it runs!
Tracy McCray's decision to quit writing her Talk of the Town column,
which we've published for more than three years, caught me by surprise,
as it likely did you. Though she said in her farewell column Monday
that she's "never been good at making decisions," Tracy said she's been
thinking about this one for a while -- and in part it's to allow herself
more time to make decisions on how she wants to direct her time and
"I can never say no, whether as a professional or as a volunteer, and I've wound up with too much," she told me this week. "I need to take my own advice and become more intentional with what I'm doing," and that means loosening the surly bonds of a few commitments, such as writing a weekly column for us.
Tracy has been involved in Rochester media for years, and as she says, volunteers for just about any organization that asks. The other night, I saw her emceeing the live auction at the annual Festival of Trees fundraiser for Hiawatha Homes, and as always, she was charming, bright and seemed totally at ease in front of hundreds of people in the audience. She's a natural at what she does.
When she left her full-time radio job in 2009, I called her right away to get her with in the P-B. Over time, that evolved into the Talk of the Town column, which became a regular part of her week (and hopefully yours) in July of that year.
Tracy says she wants to continue to write for us now and then, and here's a very public invitation, Tracy, to come on over anytime and we'll find a place for your copy and your talents here.
In the meantime, the P-B archives are a wonderful place to visit. I was just browsing through some of Tracy's columns and came across this one from late that first month she wrote for us. The headline is, "Don't let summer -- or anytime -- fly by you," and this quote maybe sums up where she's at now:
"You don’t have to cancel all your plans. Some of you thrive on a full schedule. Just consider enjoying what you are doing while you are doing it. More important, if you don’t enjoy it, it’s time to say no. Don’t worry about your schedule for tomorrow, just enjoy how good today feels. Or as a friend says, 'Be where your feet are.'"
Dialogues and other news
If you've read our reports on the Dakota War, which erupted 150 years ago this past summer and profoundly changed Minnesota history, you might want to join us at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Rochester Public Library for a conversation about the war, why it came about and how it changed our history.
I'll be joined by a half-dozen people who know all about the uprising and the aftermath, which after 150 years remains as relevant as ever. As always, this Dialogues meeting will be an informal, open-ended conversation and Q & A with the audience, and I always remember to stop at the Barlow Hy-Vee on my way to the library to pick up fresh cookies.
Also, watch for the last package of stories we'll publish this year on the Dakota uprising, this time covering the final chapter of the 1862 story, the execution of 38 Dakota prisoners in Mankato on the day after Christmas of that year. Those stories will run in the Weekend edition on Dec. 22.
Two more bits of news: For those of you who've called to tell me what you think of the comic we've been testing, "Non Sequitor," thanks for taking the time to check in. Just about all of the comments have been raves for the comic, so we'll stick with it -- we took off the "Test Comic" label this week.
And take a look at yet another new column we're introducing this week, Ryan Stotts' weekly "Day in the Life" column, which will run on Saturdays on the region cover. Ryan, who used to edit the P-B Co.'s alt-monthly Exposed and other publications, is a terrific writer and you'll like the touch he brings to these personal columns about interesting people he meets on the job.