Coming Full Circle

Originally published in Lake & Sumter Style, January 2007 •


As I begin to write my first column as associate editor of Lake & Sumter Style, I can’t help glancing over at an old upright Underwood Standard typewriter that sits in the corner of my office. The clunky contraption reminds me of a similar machine that I used many years ago to write lifestyle features for a small daily newspaper in Mississippi.

As the new kid in the newsroom, I got the left-over metal desk and a clunky, old black Underwood that the seasoned writers did not want. I think it was probably a rite of passage to see if cub reporters were going to stick around long enough for the newspaper to invest in more modern typewriters for them.

I always wanted to be a writer — not the fiction kind, but one who chronicles stories about real people and places. After a couple of years as a newspaper writer, I sidestepped into a marketing and public relations career. I wrote too many speeches and promotional pieces to count, but never lost my desire and enthusiasm to write about the people I would meet or the places I would see.

The opportunity to work for Lake & Sumter Style seemed like a natural fit, and before I knew it, I was back in the feature writing business. I’ve come full circle, but this time I’m happily using more modern equipment.

I’m especially excited to be based in Lake and Sumter counties, my home for the past six years. I lived in north central Florida more than 20 years ago, and the circle brought me back here once again. Although the area’s changed significantly while I was away, it has managed to retain the charm that I love.

In his essay, “Circles,” America’s Renaissance man Ralph Waldo Emerson said that life is a self-evolving circle, connecting to new and larger circles that are without end. That’s how I feel about the stories I find or hear about — one leads to another and yet another. Story possibilities seem to be endless, and I look forward to sharing many of them with you, our readers, in the coming issues.

I do not know if it is a coincidence or another of those concentric circles that my first major feature as a Lake & Sumter Style staff member took me back to my former hometown of Atlanta, where the High Museum of Art’s three-year exhibition, Louvre/Atlanta, began last fall. When I moved to Atlanta in 1987, the first social group I joined was sponsored by the High Museum. Seeing the new $124 million expansion at the High for the first time was quite a treat, but nothing compared to the masterpieces inside. A circle of friends from Ocala’s Appleton Museum enthusiastically told me about the Louvre/ Atlanta collaboration and about the two trips that would take arts lovers from Ocala and The Villages to see it. I hope that when you read about my experience you’ll be want to see the world-class exhibit on your own or with future Appleton trips.

Some folks say there is a comfort in knowing that life will take you full circle. When I was using that old Underwood right out of journalism school, I probably would have been horrified to think that. Today, however, it just feels right.

And that old Underwood? It still gives me a great sense of comfort and nostalgia. Not to mention it still works when the electricity goes out.

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