A year ago today, right at this very moment in fact, I was spelling my long and complicated name for the security guard at the LA Times. Spelling it twice because that's how it is with this name, which gets even longer and more complicated when you add in all the middle names and saints names the French love so much.
I was more than a little freaked out, as I had left newsroom-based journalism a few years back, tired of fighting editors for the right to let stories reflect my voice. But that turned out to be the thing that had caught some editors' eyes at the Times, that voice. It had, in fact, earned me several hundred bylines over the last decade as a freelancer for the state desk and the magazine, the food section and the home section, the real estate section, three iterations of what is now Calendar, and for the late lamented Outdoors and the stand-alone Book Review. Add in a year-long stint as the night cops reporter (contract, not staff) in a then-thriving Ventura bureau and arriving at Spring Street -- the first full-time blogger the LA Times had ever hired -- felt less like a new job than a homecoming.
So there I was, walking through the warren of halls with one of the least attractive ID cards of my career clipped to my purse, the beige walls and beige lighting looking unnervingly like every newsroom I've ever worked in. I got a desk. I got a computer. Someone sent me this edible bouquet, a savvy move if you know much about the dynamics of writers and a fresh food supply. I met scores of new colleagues, saw many more I'd known at other newspapers. What I didn't see, what none of the people who hired me or made room for me that day or were so kind and generous and willing to help could see or imagine was how it would end.
It was a great job, we created a great blog, and I know I keep saying this but I miss everyone in the newsroom very much.
Photo: Mr. Littlehand / Flickr (via Creative Commons)