Characters I Meet
In almost 30 years of writing stories, Iâ€™ve been fortunate to meet some of the most incredible people … Some were big stars, others perhaps just starting out in their careers, and others still were ordinary, everyday people â€¦ doing extraordinary things.
Although itâ€™s been an honour and a privilege to meet and/or interview major international country music stars such as Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Kenny Rogers and others, I think some of my favourite subjects have been the average man and woman in the street.
When I first started writing as a 29-year-old D grade journalist (thanks to then-editor of The Northern Daily Leader, Ann Newling, who believed in me), I was hungry for knowledge.
Unlike most of my colleagues, I didnâ€™t have a university education or degree, just an inherent love of the English language and a curious mind.
When the opportunity arose for me to avail myself of some formal training I jumped at the chance.
A very experienced journalist, Dick Faulkner, was our teacher â€“ 30-year-old me and about a dozen or more kids fresh out of uni. They knew it all so they werenâ€™t that interested in what Dick had to say.
Me? I couldnâ€™t get enough of him. I soaked up every word like a sponge. Theyâ€™d probably heard it all before, but I hadnâ€™t.
One thing that stuck in my mind from that training session almost three decades ago was one invaluable piece of advice he offered:
â€œDonâ€™t sit in the newsroom waiting to be handed stories to write. Donâ€™t wait for your editor or chief-of-staff to spoon-feed you story ideas. If you ever find yourself in the unenviable position of not having anything to write about, get up and walk out of that newsroom and walk down the street. I can guarantee you that every person walking towards you has a story to tell. Itâ€™s up to you to get it out of them.â€
To me, that was gold, and something Iâ€™ve lived by ever since.
Everyone does have a story, even if they donâ€™t realise they do â€“ or that anyone else would be interested in hearing it.
In almost 30 years of writing stories around Tamworth and district, I am so excited to be expanding my search area.
Australia is a big country and I am looking forward to finding all the wonderful characters that make up this wide, brown land of ours.
I look forward to you joining me on the journey. Who knows? Perhaps yours will be one of the stories I will get the opportunity to tell.
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You can check out the posts below if you want to discover more about some of the wonderful characters I meet on my travels.