What to write for the local paper?

I spent several hours today working on an essay about Lina and me for my regional paper, the News & Observer, in Raleigh, NC, (Sunday) circulation 190,000. A year ago I wouldn’t have dreamed (nightmared) of writing anything this close to home. Way too scary. Even a few months ago, with the Globe and Times pieces published, the idea still terrified me. But once I’d committed to doing it and gone through a few panic-stricken days and nights, I calmed down. Funny how that works. Oh, I’ll be plenty panicked just before publication, but for now I’m fine.

So the next question is, what do I write? What will the tone be? What is the message I want to get across? How local should I be? The more close-to-home people and places I include, the more readers will relate. Funny thing about that: when I wrote the Times piece, the first people I heard from were people who lived in the region I live in, saw the piece in the Times online and wrote to me because they felt some connection purely because we live within 50 miles of one another. That’s why “local connections,” though parodied in the journalism world (“One Akron man injured in hurricane, 4,300 others die”), really do matter.

In everything I write about our story, my main goal is to humanize us, to connect with readers as people, so they’ll feel like they know us in some way. To know someone is to care about them, and anyone connected to them. Back to work…

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8 Responses to What to write for the local paper?

  1. Danielle says:

    I wish you well with this!

    On a related matter, we were interviewed and photographed for Committment|NC a few weeks ago. Our photo is up but the story probably won’t be for a while (and I’m a bit nervous about how well it will be written.)

  2. Tasha says:

    I was referred here by Danielle, and just wanted to say thank you, as another happily married wife of a trans woman. 🙂 So much of what you’ve said in this blog resonates with me, and it’s always affirming and exciting to hear from a partner – we’re an even tinier minority than trans people themselves, by definition (since not all trans people are partnered!) and it’s rare that someone is as willing to use their position in the spotlight to talk about such a deeply personal issue. So, thank you, and I admire your courage in speaking out.

    (My wife finished transition about 18 months ago; she told me just before our 9th wedding anniversary, and by the time I celebrated our 10th it was with a woman. That was a rough year, but I’ve never regretted staying with her, and we’ve been together since we were 17 – I like to say that we’ve both changed more over all that time than she did in that year!)

    • didaniel says:

      Thanks so much for taking the time to write, Tasha. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. Sometimes, like last night/early morning from around 4 to 5:30 when I couldn’t sleep, I think, WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING? by being so public. But I know that when all this first happened with Lina, I was hungry for information, consolation, and connection. And I know that others are too. So, here we are … informing, consoling, connecting. And, yes, rejoicing that we have love in our lives!

      Thanks again, and all the very best to you and your wife.

      • Tasha says:

        “And I know that others are too. So, here we are … informing, consoling, connecting.”

        Exactly! I loved what you said about paying it forward. I also make a point of reaching out to other partners to say “You can do this, if you want to. Love IS enough to justify staying, even if you’ll have to be willing to work hard, too.” Of course, paying it forward does have a true *cost,* like those nights you lie awake wondering. You deserve to hear that your voice is valued and your courage appreciated.

        I’ve reposted your blog elsewhere as well, hoping that it might reach someone else who needs to hear the message that it can be done.

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