The smaller the town, the more shoulders you rub

The State House, where it all happens. Probably. How would I know?

The State House, where it all happens. Probably. How would I know?

When I first started the interviewing process for my job at the KJ, I didn’t know anything about Augusta that the Wikipedia page hadn’t told me.

To that end, I knew a rough population figure and that it was the state capital of Maine, the third smallest in the nation behind Vermont’s and South Dakota’s capitals.

Now, a year on, I drive past the beautiful State House a couple of times a day, and I live on the same street as the Governor (a dubious honor indeed). It’s extremely easy for me to forget that this is the political center of Maine, to the point where I’m genuinely a little surprised when I see someone in a suit and tie carrying a briefcase on a weekday as I’m driving to work in jeans and a hoodie.

I grew up in a political hub of sorts – Brisbane is the home of Queensland’s government – and it never had any real impact on my life, but it’s a little different here.

I mean, hell: back home I never woke up to a phone message from the mayor.

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Winter: If you can’t beat it, join it

IMG_8952Did I mention the well of inspiration has been a little dry lately when it comes to writing? I think I probably did, a thousand times.

It came down to the wire with this week’s column, as I got to Thursday with absolutely no idea what I was going to put in Sunday’s paper.

I took the uncreative route and wrote about the weather and how I’m happily taking it in my stride. And in a vicious twist of fate, Sunday’s weather was awful. Freezing rain, slippery roads, dozens of crashes…FUN!

So this is absolutely not my best effort, but it’s…something.

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Happy new beard!

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Pictured: not a beard

For the first time in years, I’ve found myself using a comb twice a day.

But this sudden attention to hair styling is not for the reasons my mother would be happy with. I’m trying to tidy the beginnings of a beard.

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Transitioning from selfish back to selfless

IMG_8952As difficult as it is for a 29-year-old man to admit it, mothers are usually correct.

That’s why I kicked off Sunday’s column this week with a quote from my own mum, whose name has now been read by literally tens of people in central Maine.

For what seems like the fifth or sixth one in a row, this column turned out to be pretty introspective and corny, but I’ve got a pretty good response from it both in person and via email.

At its essence, it’s about letting more people into my professional and personal life in 2015. I wrote it in my head while literally staring off into space in my parked car on New Year’s Eve. Inspiration comes in the weirdest places.

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Crawfin’ USA: 2014 in review

Thankfully WordPress automates statistical breakdowns, because God knows I couldn’t be bothered to do it.

Here’s a look at Crawfin’ USA by the numbers in 2014. Pretty cool, I think!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 32,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 12 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

An editorial message from the gang at Crawfin’ USA

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Please come to a full stop every now and then.

 

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about changing priorities in life, and how I’m intending to stick around in central Maine and nurture my existence outside of the career frame for awhile.

I launched into that particular post in the context of this blog generating a little less reader traffic than normal, and attributed that to a case of writer’s block.

Having thought about it though, and after a discussion with a friend of mine who’s an excellent writer with a huge literary brain, I think there’s more to it.

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Another Sunday, another sentimental column

Contrary to the fact that things are all sorts of frozen around here, I think I’ve been thawing out a lot lately.

My columns have taken something of a turn from wide-eyed wonderment to something resembling sappy, having touched on friendship, things I’m thankful for, racial diversity and feeling like a member of “the village” over the past couple of months.

I’m not going to lie to you: this weekend’s piece was no different. Hell, I even admitted in it that I cried. Some of you will not be surprised by this.

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Priorities change sometimes, y’know?

 

SAD FACE, DECEMBER. SAD FACE.

SAD FACE, DECEMBER. SAD FACE.

So this blog’s traffic stats for December have been, quite understandably, pretty grim.

After churning out far more than 100,000 words over the past 12 months, I seem to have hit a little bit of a wall. I’ve posted at a steady clip in the year since I kicked off Crawfin’ USA, but it’s down to a trickle lately.

That sits in the back of my mind far more than I care to admit, and while I don’t actually think there are people clamoring for my latest bullshit, I do have goals to meet.

But sometimes, man, priorities change.

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And we’ve come full circle

 

What am I getting myself into?

What am I getting myself into?

The photo above is the first real view I had of Augusta. It’s the parking lot of the Senator Inn and Spa, where my future employers put me up for the night when I came to visit.

I snapped that photo out of sheer incredulity, because it was the most snow I’d ever seen in my life by a long shot. I sent it to a friend back home, as if to say, “could my old home and my potential new home be any more of a contrast?”

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the day I made the move here. I stepped off the Concord coach at 4:30 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon, with the sun having already long since set.

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Ferguson shooting prompts Maine immigrant’s exploration of white male privilege

IMG_8952It’s not my normal week to write a column, but I was inspired by some happenings in the news on Monday and pitched this to my editors.

I had to run it by the powers that be because it’s somewhat more serious in subject matter, and I was concerned about its potential to piss people off.

It didn’t turn out as controversial as I had envisioned, and I’m not terribly happy with it, but perhaps you’ll like it, or at least see my point.

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