News – and a short poem by a real poet

19 Feb

Well, it seems that hard work pays off – giving you more opportunities to work hard and keep busy and not get the dishes done. I’ve been asked to write several articles for an upcoming special edition of our local newspaper – and I’ll be paid!

I’ve written for the paper – a daily with a healthy circulation despite the hard times that papers have come across in recent years – several times since moving here, but I’ve never been paid for it. A year ago January, they asked me to begin a blog (which I call The View From my Window) on their “Area Voices” server, which was quite nice. Every post appears on their homepage and, in addition, about once a month they print one of the posts in their actual physical paper.

So now I guess I can call myself a real free-lance writer!

043 (2)

I’m realizing that this means several things: 1) Deadlines; 2) Interviews and not just “out of my own head” stuff; and 3) A pay check. I’ll put up with the first two to get the last one.

In light of this time crunch and additional writing stress, I’m giving you something not entirely original this week and possibly the next couple of weeks as well. I might even have a guest blogger join us!

For today: this poem, by Jane Kenyon. I think this is my favorite poem in all creation.


Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
Let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.


20 Responses to “News – and a short poem by a real poet”

  1. Gwen February 19, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    What exciting news! Congrats! Be sure to post the links to your publications.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell February 19, 2013 at 9:55 am #

      Thanks! I don’t think that all the stories will be on-line, but I’ll let you know the ones that are! They’ll come out in the end of March…

  2. Clyde of Mankato February 19, 2013 at 7:36 am #

    Congratulation. Go get em. How well do you know Jane Kenyon’s story?

    • Gretchen O'Donnell February 19, 2013 at 9:56 am #

      Thank you! I don’t know a lot about Kenyon – and, honestly, this poem is by far my favorite of hers – there are one or two others I like (and I have a book of her complete works) but most of them don’t do much for me. I know she had cancer and died far too young –

  3. Minnesota Prairie Roots February 19, 2013 at 7:40 am #

    Congratulations, Gretchen! This is wonderful news, but not at all surprising given your talent. You’ll do just fine.

    Enter each interview prepared with background info and questions and go from there.

    The biggest challenge for me in interviews is writing all of the info down as quickly as it’s being told to me. And legibly. I always go through my notes as soon as I get home and try and write the story right away. Never be afraid to call your source back if you are uncertain of something. Better to do that than to be wrong. Are you doing photos, too?

    If you have questions about the interview process, feel free to ask.

    But I expect you are going to do just fine on your own, as long as you keep your opinion to yourself. That’s the difference b/n journalism and blogging. No opinions.

    One more thing: Never, ever, allow your source to read your story before publication.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell February 19, 2013 at 10:01 am #

      Thank you for your advice! I might, indeed, e-mail you with for some advice! So far my biggest problem is getting people who are willing to be interviewed – apparently there are a lot of people out there who don’t think they’d make for a very good story and they’re wrong!

      Yes, I am already worried about my ability to write legibly and quickly. Tomorrow I’ll be put to the test but she sounded very nice on the phone – and chatty – so I’m sure, while she might talk fast, she’ll be willing to repeat herself if need be! I don’t have to do the photos, no – the paper photographer will take care of that, which is good.

      I also have thought about that opinion aspect – that IS hard for me, I know. Not actually so much opinion, actually…but just wanting to insert my thoughts/my ability to relate. IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. Gotta remember that.

      And I love your last line – I needed to hear that.

      • Minnesota Prairie Roots February 19, 2013 at 11:56 am #

        Gretchen, do email and tell me what you’re writing about and maybe I’ll have some suggestions on how to persuade these folks to let you interview them. Any other questions, ask away and I will try to help.

        Good to hear you don’t have to do photos because it’s challenging to do both your first time out the gate.

        But apparently you already have experience with your college newspaper?

        • Gretchen O'Donnell February 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

          Oh, I was editor of the Bethel seminary “newspaper” – but that was only a stapled, 2-page thing we started my senior year…so nope, not much experience!

  4. Kathleen Erickson February 19, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Congratulations to my friend, the free-lance writer!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell February 19, 2013 at 10:36 am #

      Thanks, Kathleen! I was remembering the seminary newspaper the other day…I loved writing my editorials!

  5. hotlyspiced February 19, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    Congratulations, Gretchen. That’s very exciting news. You must be overjoyed. All your hard work and talent being recognised. Good luck with it. I’m sure you will be brilliant xx

    • Gretchen O'Donnell February 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

      I like the way Australians and Brits use the word “Brilliant” so often – it’s an underused word here in the States! 🙂 Thanks so much for your encouragement!

  6. gardenfreshtomatoes February 20, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    Wonderful news! You’re up to the challenge, no doubt!
    Thanks for sharing that poem…it’s just lovely.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell February 20, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

      Thanks for your encouragement! And I’m so glad you liked the poem. I don’t like long poems – I get bored – so this is the right length/right amount of imagery/right sentiment/right style for me!

  7. megtraveling February 20, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    Congrats and best wishes to you! It sounds like something you enjoy too… 🙂

    • Gretchen O'Donnell February 20, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

      Thanks! Yes, I think I’ll enjoy it…though I’m also a wee bit nervous!

  8. Beth Ann February 20, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    Congrats! That is wonderful news and I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with!!! Love the poem you shared today, also!!!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell February 20, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

      Thanks! I am feeling the pressure of the different kind ofi writing…it’s not about ME! Probably good for my self-centered heart. 🙂

  9. Megan메간 February 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    Congratulations on getting the chance to write a few articles! I would love to do something such as that. You’re poem is lovely by the way. I love how everything funnels toward evening 🙂

    • Gretchen O'Donnell February 21, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

      I live in a pretty small town, so I think that helps to be known. I love the poem too – Jane Kenyon did a great job – it’s my favorite of hers by far. Thanks so much for your comments!

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