For almost exactly two years, or about 100 weekly columns, I was given an interesting opportunity at stlmag.com. The initial idea I pitched them revolved around exploring. A weekly blog that would let me get to know St. Louis in new and unique ways. If not truly “new,” at least new to me. At first, I opted for some tried-and-true stuff, like running around abandoned packing plants; at other times, I visited people in interesting jobs, folks like the hellbenders exhibit keepers at the Zoo. It was fun, though all over the place, thematically. In trying to find the weekly outlet’s “voice,” I eventually settled into a pattern of four stories a month around a common theme. At that point everything clicked.
When posting these stories to Facebook in recent months, a common joke intro was that I was trying to be a better St. Louisan by writing these. And while that was just a goofy conceit to get hits for the pieces, it also turned out to a be a bit true. This November, for example, I took the concept of Autumnal Wanderings and went to four places in/around town (and one short road trip), all of them being locations new to me, despite most of them being well-known. Every experience was cool, even one made while in the throes of a killer cold. I visited some massive graveyards, walked down a path off of the Delmar Loop, visited Cairo, IL.
As the blog is now going into a new direction, my freestyle columns are going away. Interestingly, the piece on Cairo is going be the last. The vortex of loss surrounding Cairo is apparently very strong indeed. But I feel like it’s a decent piece of writing, a worthy capstone to an enjoyable, two-year experiment.