When starting this intro-to-me column, I did the very cliche writer thing of staring longingly into the abyss of my blank word document while praying that, after spending a solid 15 minutes looking up quotes about journeys (spoiler alert: life is a journey), I would be awakened to what was sure to be an inspiring but hilarious anecdote about my pathway to becoming the new staff writer at DGO Mag. Alas, that did not happen, so this is what you’re stuck with. I’m sorry. Please keep reading.
I’ll start with a dose of honesty: I never wanted to be a journalist. Never. While writing my fifth grade play about the European Renaissance (still my greatest accomplishment to date) and thoroughly creeping out my high school creative writing class with a 32-page story about a girl who murders a bunch of people who wronged her (I’m sure there’s a lot in there for a therapist to dig through), it never crossed my mind to seek out journalism as a career. In fact, I was so turned off by it that I even avoided joining the yearbook club because it seemed too journalistic for my refined, know-it-all adolescent taste. I can’t even provide a good reason as to my aversion. Simply put, I was going to be a writer. My dream was to live in a home by the seaside and write novels and scripts in my attic. From the view out of my window, I could watch as the waves crashed against a lonely lighthouse as I developed a permanent back hump as a result of constantly being hunched over my typewriter. I also wanted to marry a farmer at one point in my life, so there’s that.
Once I got into college, however, reality set in. I needed to create a writing portfolio and find ways to get experience. I couldn’t do that by just scribbling half-baked ideas onto scraps of paper that I stuck to my desk and inevitably forgot about. So I joined the campus newspaper, and things went from there. I discovered that writing for a newspaper was far from beneath me and, low and behold, it did allow for the opportunity to be creative and exercise my voice.
I eventually interned for the Omaha World-Herald, the largest paper in Nebraska — my point of origin. Then, upon graduation, I got a job at the Hebron Journal-Register, a small-town weekly newspaper in Hebron, Neb. Small town Nebraska is as exciting as you think it is, make no mistake. But despite that, I’m thankful that’s where I got my start. I had room to make, at times, humiliating mistakes, and then learn from them. That is where I learned to hold myself accountable for deadlines and learned to dig myself out of my own holes — thankfully I was surrounded by a staff of people who gave me room to do those things.
Eventually, when I felt I had outgrown my first publication, I got a job as the business reporter and digital content editor at the Kearney Hub, a small daily in Kearney, Neb. Business, I quickly realized, was not my dream beat; however, it did allow me to report on some fun things, like bars, artists, brew fests, and historic building renovations. Anything weird and/or had to do with booze and food, and I was all in. After doing some freelance writing for DGO, including my Crappy Cooking column, where I attempt to live my dream of becoming a halfway decent cook (another spoiler alert: I suck — life is a journey), I was offered the job of staff writer here, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Y’all are a little high up (in more ways than one) in the mountains for this Nebraska girl, who’s used to being at roughly 1,000-2,000 feet above sea level, and certainly not used to (God forbid) walking up and down hills. People are going to think I’m a mouth-breather. For the record, I am not. If you see me raggedly breathing as I walk around downtown, know that I am just pathetically out of shape.
Having only lived in Durango for less than a week, I am already surprised and humbled by the kindness and patience shown to me by you Durangatangs. To be honest, I’m still pinching myself, not entirely sure how I’ve ended up in such a cool mountain town where I’ll get to write on things like festivals, cowboys, and aliens.
It’s no attic by the seashore and I’m not a hunchbacked-writing recluse (yet), but I’ll take it.
Amanda Push is a writer who wishes she lived with a cat and just wants to learn how to not eat like a college student anymore. Contact her at [email protected].