On a hill under a raven sky
I have no idea exactly what I’ve drawn
Some kind of change, some kind of spinning away
With every single line moving further out in time
— Brian Eno, “Spinning Away”
It’s been a hell of a ride.
I started blogging almost exactly five years ago, out of a kind of professional desperation. There’d been some dead ends, a seeming lack of opportunity in the ever-shrinking media landscape. So, on the invitation of John Odum, I joined the gang at Green Mountain Daily and started blogging about Vermont politics.
And I loved it. I loved using my brain and my experience to reflect on the political scene. I loved playing with language and form. So I just kinda kept on doing it, slowly building a reputation and an audience.
In the summer of 2014 I went solo, launching this blog out of a feeling that I was too dominant a voice at GMD. Too much of me, not enough of the variety of viewpoints that the blog was designed to provide.
And I wanted to captain my own ship.
Turned out to be the right move. It freed me but also imposed a certain discipline; I was solely responsible for what I was writing — and for providing fresh content.
That’s the perpetual struggle, and that’s why bloggers usually don’t last long. They move out or move up. In my case, up.
Because the career move that wasn’t a career move eventually opened up a new opportunity I would never have thought possible: assuming the Peter Freyne Memorial Chair in Instigative Journalism at Seven Days.
So, here I go. My first act as the paper’s political columnist: an on-the-record interview with Governor-elect Phil Scott. You’ll be reading about that on my brand new page at the Seven Days website later today or tomorrow.
For the rest of this month, I’ll be posting online content for Seven Days. Starting in January, I write “Fair Game”, a spot that’s been ably filled by the late Peter Freyne, Shay Totten, Andy Bromage, and my new boss Paul Heintz. Their work has made “Fair Game” destination reading for anyone interested in Vermont politics and media. Now I try not to drop the torch into the nearest puddle.
This blog will not go away, but as long as I work for Seven Days there won’t be any new postings here. I’ll keep it open as an archive and, heh, as a fallback in case things don’t work out at the new popstand.
This has been a ton of hard work, and an endless joy. The blog has attracted a substantial (and still growing) readership. But it’s awfully hard to turn down a regular paycheck when I’ve been testing my true love’s patience for five long years of commitment without financial reward.
The new gig will be different. They hired me for my voice, my talent and my insight, but I’ll be obliged to talk to the key players, check my facts (or have ‘em checked for me), and ground my observations in a new level of reality unobtainable in my basement office. Hopefully it will improve my work without dulling the razor’s edge.
I’m grateful to all the people who’ve spent their time reading this stuff. I hope you’ll follow me to the new place. And I’m sure you won’t be shy about telling me how I’m doing. You never have been.
Goodbye, for here and for now.
We’re going to miss you here at the library, John, but look forward to seeing you in print!!!
Well it’s been great VPO Guy….I’ve enjoyed reading your stuff.
Keep asking the hard questions.
And even more important, please-please, keep telling the hard truth.
I think we’re going to need it.
Thanks for all your work. I’m going to miss reading your work under pictures of I.F. Stone showing us where Southeast Asia is, or Ida Turbell writing in her study, etc. Good luck at Seven Days
Would give a fistbump if I didn’t disagree with most of what you say.
Well you earned it fosheez. And must say I greatly miss the diverse voice & benevolent anarchy of the late great GMD.
Many writers keep their writings as a journal online even after going mainstream so a good idea to keep your treasures also plus maintain the indie-ethos of blogging.
Hate goodbyes — so happy to know no adios.
Haven’t been commenting computer on the fritz again love my Berry but really cramped.
Enjoy your new digs with fellow left-of-left alts!
While we seldom agreed on things, it has been a pleasure !
Best of luck and Godspeed,
Ah John, glad I knew you when! You must be excited and perhaps a bit intimidated, assuming the oft-missed Freyne. He had a Royko style that is hard to find.
I’ve faithfully followed VPO since you began. Thanks for the blood and treasure you spent making it happen.
I’m happy you’ll get a larger stage with some backup. I beg you keep a picture of Freyne on your desk and don’t lose that edge. You are inspiring.
It is sorely needed.
Typos courtesy of Siri.
Congrats on the new gig. Don’t go all mainstream on us now (love Seven Days, just kidding).
I’m gonna miss this blog. It’s been one of the best.
I’ll say job well done because it was fun sparring with you. I won’t say good-bye because I suspect we’ll be running into each other (as opposed to “at” each other, I hope) over at the Big House. Good luck in future endeavors!
Same to you, Senator. Always appreciated your engagement.
How about some of you folks giving us a flutter over on Green Mountain Daily?
Thanks John, I’ve enjoyed your perpective
Bonne Chance, JV! Try not to hit the “voice” too hard to begin with. Your usual dry sarcasm is plenty good enough.