A love letter to Tucson

Dear Tucson,

I suppose everyone has these phases, but it’s so funny now to remember that eight years ago, I was desperate to be somewhere else. And now that I’ve left home — the thing my 14-year-old self wanted most — I just want to tell that little girl that there’s no need to rush.

Some of my best friends returned to school last month. Some of them have moved on entirely, across state lines and national borders. And I’ve moved back to Los Angeles, this time for much longer than 10 weeks. I’ve been on a crying streak all summer, but it hit its peak this weekend, to the point that just before we got on the road to L.A. Friday morning, I burst into tears again without even seeing it coming. My mother asked why I was crying and I exclaimed I didn’t know, it had just happened.

But of course I know why I cried then, and why I cried during every goodbye I had to say this summer, and why even now in my cute little sunshiny studio in Koreatown I feel an urge to weep even though I’m not sad. New beginnings are exciting, of course, but they are also a little scary and a little overwhelming and a little lonely. But mixed in with all that excitement and fear and loneliness and exhilaration is so, so much gratitude. And that’s worth a few tears too.

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You guys, I hate titles.

Who has two thumbs and is the fall 2012 editor-in-chief of the Arizona Daily Wildcat? This girl. Betting on me was probably safe, given that I was the only one running for the gig, but here we go anyway.

To say next semester will be interesting would be an understatement, given how much has to change. There’s a lot of worrying about keeping up with budget cuts and catching up with the way journalism has changed in the last few years. (You can download my Daily Wildcat editor-in-chief application as a pdf.)

I expect to meet a lot of resistance. It won’t be because I’m abrasive or too demanding, though maybe I should cut back on threatening to set people’s personal belongings on fire. It’s definitely not that I’m asking for anything too hard to accomplish, assuming we go at it with some patience and flexibility. It’s just really, really new.

And yet it’s not. Nothing I want to do is something entirely different from what people already do. People are already on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. People already know how to report, write, design, shoot, film, etc. I just want people to combine all of their skills, including the things they don’t think are skills (like tweeting or snapping a picture on Instagram), to produce a more well-rounded story for print and online.

Everyone has the potential to be a great storyteller. They just need to be pushed to approach and present the story a little differently.

And OK. Every editor-in-chief of the Wildcat has pitched these big abstract ideas, only to burn out and realize their lofty visions get tangled up in the day-to-day stresses of the paper. I don’t expect to streamline and transform the Wildcat in a semester or two, but here’s hoping that having a tangible game plan will help lay something of a foundation.

In other news, not long now until Dow Jones News Fund training in Texas and then I’m off to Los Angeles for my internship. And I’ve found a place to live, so I won’t even be homeless this summer. You win, week.