Obligatory selfie at the Home on the Range cabin, Smith County, Kansas.
Recently, I made a big career decision. I moved back into the newsroom. And I’m not regretting it one bit.
Today was a great day. It was hot and windy, but that’s Kansas for you. And photographer Jolie and I were there to tell the story of people telling a uniquely Kansas story.
We were at the site of the Home on the Range cabin in Smith County, the site where Dr. Brewster Higley wrote a poem about his beloved homestead. A Wichita group is there this week to film a documentary about how those words became the Western anthem we know today.
My dilemma, every reporter’s dilemma, is that there are so many stories to tell, but so little time and space to do it in. Even with the seemingly infinite internet, there’s only so much you can do.
It’s difficult sometimes to decide what fits with the angle I’m taking on the story and how much I need to write. I’ve always written long stories. I love to tell stories. But this day and age, with our ever-shortening attention spans, it’s a challenge for me to keep it short.
It’s kind of agonizing for me to not include everyone in a project like this, people who no doubt feel they put their hearts and souls into it. I would like to recognize them all, to include that one little nugget of a great quote they gave me. But sometimes it just doesn’t fit.
There was the woman who considers herself an “amateur writer” who felt compelled to write a movie script after reading a local historian’s account of the song. The stories of the guy who grew up near the cabin and whose father grew up nearby and whose mother taught in one-room schoolhouses. The director who has great desire to tell the stories of Kansas that many Kansans aren’t even familiar with. His wife, who is an accountant in her other life and craft services and first aid on the set. The hair and makeup woman who “embeds” herself in old photos for research, the costumer who makes some of the period clothing herself, the gun fighter re-enactor with a role in the film. And that’s not even half of them.
I’m an introvert by nature. But I’m fascinated by people who follow their passions, and I think their stories need to be told.
And even when it’s all done and my story is published, I always wonder, could I have included just a little more?