I’ve been editor of the Chestnut Hill Local now since June of 2006 – that’s 12 and three-quarters years, or 153 months. In that time, I’ve overseen approximately 660 issues of the paper. During that span of time, I’ve rarely refrained from writing a weekly column in this space. At most, I’ve skipped maybe five weeks out of an entire year. So while I haven’t taken the time to count them, I think it’s safe to say I’ve written more than 600 columns in this space over the past 12-plus years.
That’s a lot of columns. At 500 words a column, that comes out to 300,000 words. That’s a greater word count than Joyce’s “Ulysses,” Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” or Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment.” It’s a greater word count than any of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels, including her longest, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” which clocks in at 257,045 words.
There are two points I’d like to make with this accounting of words typed.
First, I’ve reached a point where I may have run out of things to say. It’s not that there aren’t important things to write about. But in Chestnut Hill, I’m not convinced there is something that requires my attention every week. I have reached the point where I do feel like I’m saying the same thing over and over again.
Second, and I’ve brought this up before in this space, the Local could use more opinions in its opinion pages.
On the whole, we are lucky to get a good number of thoughtful and well-written opinions from our readers. In the last month we’ve published op-eds by gubernatorial candidate and East Falls resident Dr. Nina Ahmad on the challenges facing black mothers, and another on racism by former Northwest Interfaith Movement director the Rev. Richard Fernandez.
But we live in a community that is rich in expertise. And, I think it’s fair to say, we live in a community that is not short on opinions, whether it’s on local or state politics, education, science or religion. I’d like to see more of those opinions shared here in these pages.
My pitch here is simple. The Local would like to not only hear from you, but also to provide you a platform to discuss the topics most important to you. And while writing for the Local may rarely provide the sort of instant gratification of likes or loves that Facebook and Twitter provide, it is a platform that will be read by thousands of your neighbors, many of whom have consequential positions in government, medicine, law and other significant institutions. It could have an impact.
In other words, we’ve got clout.
Whether you’re an expert in a field or simply a local resident with a potentially interesting take on a topic, consider having it published in the Local. Send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me with your idea at 215-248-8802.