Melissa Stagnaro

As much as I hate to disappoint you, my dear readers, I’m about to. Because I know you saw the title of this, my most recent blog, and greedily clicked on it, eager to hear some salacious tale involving that highly flammable, high-octane booze which has no doubt sparked all kinds of drunken debauchery: Bacardi 151.

Sorry to disappoint, but this epistle has nothing whatsoever to do with partying it up Bacardi style. In fact, it’s about the biggest anti-party of all: work.

You see, this marks my 151st blog for the Evening Sun. That’s right, I’ve now penned 151 of these suckers, in which I’ve pouring my heart, soul, hopes, dreams and a whole lot of bs into the blogosphere.

Without a doubt, this opportunity to shoot the proverbial *$#^ with our online readership is one of my favorite parts of my job at The Evening Sun. A job at which, I might add, I celebrated my two year anniversary yesterday.

371 days after the fact, I still vividly remember my first day at this esteemed paper. I got to sleep in that morning, since I didn’t have to present myself until after deadline. Little did I know it would be the last weekday (other than a holiday or two) when I’d get to do that.

Since my first (admittedly uninspiring) brief  – about the Oxford PD’s acquisition of a new Durango – over 825 articles have appeared under my byline. Which averages out to roughly 8 per week.

I know, you’d think I’d have gotten better at it by now, right? Yet here I am still agonizing over every word and sweating out each deadline.

Perfection takes time, I keep telling Jeff, explaining my philosophy on writing as a craft. But he just looks nonplused and tells me what time it is.

Some days it feels hard to believe I’ve been at this desk typing away for two years. On others, the number the calendar provides feels like a far too conservative estimate. It feels like decades, for example, if I’m recovering from a string of school board meetings.

School board meetings. *Groan.*

Attending these meetings is something of a necessary evil for me. I have no idea how many I’ve gone to in the last 24 months, although I feel safe to say it is more than any human should have to endure in a lifetime – unless they are elected to do so, of course. But important stories come out of them, so I have to be there in order to do my job to the best of my ability.

If my job was a spaghetti western a la Clint Eastwood, school board meetings would be the Bad AND the Ugly. But luckily there is the Good to balance it out.

Columns and blogs definitely fall into this category. And I really love the hands-on stuff, like the Punching the Clock series we used to do and Delivering Christmas around the holidays. Just meeting people I don’t know and hearing their stories is a thrill for me. And it’s always a privilege to, in turn, tell that story to our readers.

Sure, you could say that makes me a nosy busy-body. You’d even be right. But in this job, it serves me well.

There are times when I have my doubts about my chosen field. There are long days, late nights and far too many weekends covering fairs, graduations and the like. And lets face it, being a reporter isn’t exactly one of the highest paid professions. So why do I keep doing what I do? Why do any of us, for that matter?

For me at least, it’s because I love to write, and I consider it a privilege to be able to make an albeit meager living doing it every day. And in my heart I feel I am doing good by being here – whether it’s by raising awareness of issues, highlighting positive points in our community, or keeping people informed about what’s taking place in town and school board meetings.

It also feeds my needy little ego. Because all it takes is for one person to tell me they were touched by my words – or that a humorous column gave them a much-needed laugh – to make it all worthwhile.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the last two years as much as I have.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.