When I came to The Augusta Chronicle , my plans never included sticking around for any length of time. I thought it would be a two-year gig, three tops. I was excited about the job and pleased with the opportunity to reconnect with the city I had grown up in and perhaps repay the community the abstract debt I felt I owed.
But two years came and went. Then three. Then five and seven and now, here I sit, 11 years after writing my first stories for the paper, trying to figure out how to write the most difficult piece of my career.
It's where I say goodbye.
I'm stepping down from my post as arts and entertainment writer at The Chronicle . I'll no longer have the pleasure of entrée into Augusta's studios and practice spaces, backstage rituals and onstage triumphs. I'll no longer have the privilege of being allowed into people's homes, lives and creative processes.
It has been an emotional decision and transition.
The good news is that I'm not going far. I've accepted a job at Wierhouse, the firm responsible for the Do It Deke T-shirts, the recent Flip the Birds campaign, and last season's Southern Soul and Song posters. It also does a lot of very interesting and creative work in the fields of corporate identity, branding, advertising and marketing.
I'll also be keeping my Pop Rocks column in the newspaper and perhaps even write the occasional story or two. That was important to me. Although I'm leaving The Chronicle , I'm still proud to have been a part of it for so many years. I remain a faithful supporter -- and subscriber. So while I'm excited to use my skills in a new way, I'm also excited that I'm being allowed to continue the column.
I'm also excited to be staying in Augusta.
As I alluded to earlier, I returned to Augusta, after nearly a decade away, without any intention of staying. I had no family here. Friendships were strained by the disappearing act I pulled when I left after high school. I felt no real connection to the city, to the community.
But Augusta welcomed me. The city I once vowed never to return to bore me no ill will. Friendships were re-established. Old haunts were rediscovered. I found not the rundown town I thought I was leaving as a disgruntled teen, but a vibrant city begging me to write about her charms.
In the years since, I've discovered so much -- new bands, new art, new beauty being created at every turn.
But my greatest discovery was something I've never written about. In returning to Augusta and in writing for the newspaper, I found that thing we all secretly seek out, the thing that makes us all feel whole.
I discovered home.
For that Augusta, I thank you.