As I was trying to sort out a post about what leaving the newspaper voluntarily meant to me -- how it was a painful and long-debated decision that I don't like to dwell on much because it feels too much like failure -- the paper went and laid off seven people in the newsroom last week. If I hadn't left, I'm guessing I would have been among them.
Every time I sit down to write about it, I go in a different direction. I want to write about my path through journalism and what's important to me. I want to craft complicated extended metaphors to illustrate my feelings about my career. I want to list alphabetically the annoyances suffered under various bosses. I want to just talk about my triumphs and good days and the fun and pride I had in any work that had to do with words. I want to rage against an industry that is hell-bent on deprecating itself right out of business. I want to thank everyone who has taught me something about writing or editing or layout or reporting. I want to hold forth on newspapers being at the vanguard of democracy, and crumbling under the demand for profits, and then bring the two together in a devastating analysis of what's wrong with America. And I can't get any of it right so I don't even try it.
I have friends who were laid off and friends who are left there. They're all in my thoughts this week.