Reality Bites by James A. Norton

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It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world, my friend…try to keep it together.

I have been writing in various publications off and on for the better part of 25 years now. I’ve written serious business columns that included
finance, real estate, general business and in one instance, economics. I’ve also written short-story fiction more than a few times and been lucky enough to be offered the chance to write “rant” columns such as this for a long time now. I feel very lucky.

My luck notwithstanding, and even with all this writing experience, I don’t consider myself an actual “writer” per se. This might seem confusing, and rather than go into a whole “aw shucks, I’m just me…” song and dance in order to mask some feeble attempt at humility, I will cut straight to the chase…in my mind, the biggest qualifier for whether I would consider myself a real writer or not is if I ever depended on my writing to pay my bills and/or keep a roof over my head. I didn’t, case closed.

There’s been some speculation on this changing for me, probably sooner than expected. Until then, I’m just a guy with something on his mind and the opportunity to express it – and for that I am very grateful.

One thing I hadn’t realized until very recently, is that the majority of my time spent on my “rant” columns was limited to readership in my hometown – Somerville. Oh, I knew who my audience was, don’t get it twisted, but, I didn’t realize that a lot of what I had to say was so community-specific. Slowly over the last several weeks, whilst trying to acclimate myself to the business of regional news publication, I have realized that when ranting about whatever pops into my head, I need to be more “global” about it – speak to a wider audience – if you will.

There were more than a few factors involved in this moment of clarity for me. I don’t need to go into all of them here – just two of the more notable ones – first, I recently wrote a column that spoke to recognizing “Villens” out in the world beyond Winter Hill; the other was the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. The obvious tie-in here is taking my rant column beyond one local community and turning it into something global or at the very least, more regional in nature.

I could have probably just written about how much the Olympics have changed since I was a kid, babbling on about the “bigger picture” and literally boring you to tears. Maybe how ridiculous I think it is to know that they spent $51 billion on less than 20 days of official ceremonies in Russia, of all places. Fact is, there’s lots for me to write about with respect to the Olympics – and since they will be over by this time next week – I will start writing in a few days. Until then, this is me thinking global.

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