The first thing I learned about newspaper column writing is that no one really cares about the writer.
That's harsh, but true.
You can write about yourself and what you think, but it has to be informational, amusing or inspiring. Thus is the challenge. If you don't achieve those goals, your piece reads like a journal entry, and no one cares about what someone writes in a journal.
"I did this and I thought that and then I was listening to this and realized how I believe that and I was like, 'Oh my God,'" wrote the bad column writer.
So I got a little sick to my stomach wondering what to write for a sappy farewell column, which is what this is.
Yep, three and a half years of living and writing in Steamboat Springs ends this weekend when I pack all my material possessions in a U-Haul, inevitably realize how most of it is a bunch of junk, and head to a new writing job on the Front Range.
That's the business of writing: move on to something better in a few years.
No more pondering over deep questions for potential local stories, like if the singles line at the gondola really is faster on a powder morning, or what is the true definition of a local and what are the fundamental differences between that person and a tourist.
The next time you see me, I'll be a tourist.
But really, what is there to say in a farewell column that's not sappy and self-centered?
Should it be a goodbye to all the good people I met here? There were plenty.
How about one final stand for the String Cheese shows? I won't go there.
Maybe I should do a news piece about the rumored curse placed on this valley by a Ute Indian chief, the curse that says once you come here, you can never leave. The truth is, several towns in Colorado claim to have the same curse, even Fort Collins.
There is a lot to say before you move away, most of which is more appropriate over beers instead of mass readership.
I guess the most important thing is that the Yampa Valley is a great place. As long as I have a friend's floor to throw a sleeping bag on, I'll always come back to visit.
Autumn Phillips will take my place, while the boss will hire a new person to take her South Routt and Hayden position.
Now, that wasn't that sappy.