By the time this column is published, I will have been a resident of Durango for exactly 12 days. Six of those days were spent trying to write this column.
I’m not sure why I dread the process of writing about myself, I just do. I write and then rewrite, ad infinitum, until the deadline cannot be pushed further and I’m forced to divulge at least some modicum of personal information or risk the wrath of the people up the print line that I’m holding up. I suppose part of the issue is that I’m generally content with being the person behind the screen, the one tasked with the faceless job of cleaning up errant commas and reworking cheesy puns. The other is that I’m a perfectionist about words, to the point where it’s bordering on obsessive.
But despite that disdain for personal anecdotes, I’m also quite competitive, and since ol’ David Holub, who’s been heading up this DGO magazine for the last couple of years, has become known for his witty, insightful, donut-loving columns, I figured I’d throw my proverbial hat into the ring. Well, that and he literally left the blank space from his column for me to fill. Thanks, David.
But aside from the nagging deadline looming for this column, the last 12 days in Durango have been pretty darn great.
As a native Houstonian (that’s a person from Houston for you non-Texans), I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I rolled into ye fair Colorado town. I’ve spent the majority of my career shrouded in the anonymity that comes with working in big Texas cities. My work in alt-weeklies started as a music writer for the Houston Press, and ended up dipping my toes into any and all areas of the newsroom, including news, arts and entertainment, and the bar beat. After serving my time at the Press, I moved into the role of web editor of the Dallas Observer, an equally crazy, traffic-laden city.
Life in the midst of urban sprawl and inner-city chaos has become familiar to me, and over the years I learned to relish in the convenience of a banh mi shop on every corner and the never-ending buzz of traffic, noise, and chaos.
My only real experience with living and working in a small mountain town happened during a quick stint as editor of an alt-weekly in Jackson, Wyoming. In the winter. In Wyoming. (I feel like that needs to be reiterated for bonus points in bravery.) I had never lived in a place with all four seasons, nor had I ever driven in the mountains or canyons that flank Jackson Hole. Out of my element doesn’t begin to touch it.
So while I was stoked to have this opportunity in Durango, I was nervous about taking such a big step into the unknown. I know how to handle life in the city, but Durango, with its vibrant arts scene, collective love of the outdoors, and walker-friendly crosswalks, felt intimidating to me. I found myself wondering whether I would fit in here, or if I’d remembered my ugly winter boots. More so, though, I was worried about whether I could really fill the shoes of an editor who has done some pretty great things in a short time.
What I found quite quickly, though, is that I probably shouldn’t have worried so much about finding my place in Durango, or at DGO. The folks who have nurtured and grown DGO over the last two years or so are already some of the coolest people I’ve ever worked with, minus the weird disembodied doll head someone placed on the bookshelf. And the town of Durango has a quirky, inviting, weirdo-loving pulse that makes it feel like home, even without the concrete and tangled freeways.
I didn’t expect to end up in Durango, but I feel incredibly lucky to have landed in this cool little mountain town.
Some of life’s greatest adventures happen when we veer from the safety of the path we’ve drawn for ourselves, and I have a feeling this might be one of them.