I did something in this week that I never do, well almost never. In fact I’m doing it right now. Writing in the first person.
Unless you’re writing a blog, or a magazine story about something you’ve experienced—a great fishing trip, for instance—it’s frowned upon, and quite frankly a little strange, to write a news story in the first person. It breaks a fundamental ground rule of journalism, being as objective as possible. It’s simply impossible to claim objectivity when writing in the first person.
This particular news story, however, was a first-person experience. There was almost no way to be objective. Trying to be would have defeated the message that Dan Bryan is trying to share with the world. In sharing his story, he also hopes to hear your story. His journey a two-way street and that makes it an immersive, first-person experience.
If you haven’t had the chance to read about Dan in this week’s newspaper, be sure you do. And be sure to look up some of the other news stories about Dan and the loss of his son, Ethan, who was just 16 when he was killed in a car wreck nearly two years ago just to the east of us on Highway 8 near Park Hills.
Dan is on a wonderful journey, a wonderful, horrible, beautiful journey. His is a story that just has to be told, over and over again, to as many people as possible. It’s a life story, a real story, an impactful story. And I was glad to tell it, or what I could of it.
You see, Dan’s journey is far from over. He set out to play catch in memory of his son for 365 days in a row. Even when that year is finished, Dan will live on and so will his memories of Ethan...and everyone else’s memories of Ethan.
I imagine I will think of Dan and Ethan every time I pick up a baseball for the rest of my life. Playing catch with my grandsons will never be the same again.
I often share my opinions in this very column, but years ago I decided there was one word I would never write on the opinion page. That word is “I.”
When someone reads my opinion, I understand they realize I’m the one writing it but I don’t pretend to think you all really care what I personally think about most things. Who am I, afterall?
I have always found the words I share on the opinion page are made stronger when not having to remind the reader that what I’m writing about is my opinion...or My Thoughts. Quite simply, I share my opinions more as a “statement of fact” because I genuinely believe the things I write about are important not only for me, but also for you.
I certainly doesn’t mean I’m right and I certainly don’t have all the answers. But that’s what makes life interesting. Variety is the spice of life, as they say.
Far too often these days we vilify those who disagree with us. Both the left and the right want things to go their way, no matter what the cost. Our political parties no longer compromise on even some of the most common sense ideas.
It’s a shame. I don’t understand it.
I’ve always had friends on both sides of the political spectrum and have enjoyed spirited conversations with them. And I have seen people acting in ways I will never understand, but that doesn’t mean I think they should be dismissed or label un-American. Their experiences are not my experiences.
We can disagree and even agree to disagree, but we shouldn’t dismiss or ignore those we disagree with. Compromise and working together will make us all stronger.