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Flying the Coop

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As most of you loyal “It’s Dear Darling” viewers probably already know, my sister Wendy has left Neverland for a cushy job in the big city.  Working at JH Media really is a dream job for her, and I couldn’t be happier about it.  And if I’m being honest, I’ve kind of seen this coming for a long time; because, while my dream is here, Wendy was never going to be able to reach her full potential in Neverland.  And don’t get me wrong, if I got an offer to be a newspaperman for a prestigious paper in the big city, I’m not saying I wouldn’t have to think long and hard about it, but in the final analysis, I am perfectly happy climbing the ladder here at our local paper.  Because sooner or later our dear father George Darling will have to retire (though I daren’t tell him that!), and I can’t imagine the Kensington Chronicle without a Darling at the helm.

However, “It’s Dear Darling” was essentially the pinnacle of what Wendy would have been able to achieve at the Chronicle, and I’ve always known that she’s destined for bigger things than that.  Which is not to say that it was easy for her to leave.  It takes a certain kind of person to leave behind her parents, her siblings, her friends, and make a new life for herself hundreds of miles from the place she’s called home for her entire life.  The Kensington Chronicle’s own Peter Pan likes to fancy himself an adventurer, but for my money there is no braver soul in all of Neverland than my sister Wendy.

I do sometimes wonder, however, just what is the cost of pursuing your dreams?  As I’ve mentioned at least a couple of times before, as I toil day in and day out to make my professional dreams a reality, the refrain “What’s love got to do with it?” keeps coming up more and more frequently.  Indeed, Wendy’s departure has threatened to tear her own burgeoning romance asunder, making me wonder anew if personal and professional satisfaction truly are mutually exclusive propositions.  Juggling a career and a serious relationship has seemed like a bridge too far for many in my generation, and I think it begs the question, “What do you do when you have two dreams that are at odds?”  And I suppose I don’t necessarily have a good answer to that question.

That said, when confronted with this choice herself, I believe Wendy came at it from a particularly refreshing angle.  Some might say she chose professional aspirations over love, but I don’t exactly see it that way.  I rather like to think that she’s elected to believe that, in situations like this, love finds a way.  That distance can make the heart grow fonder, and true love can endure even the harshest trials.

So for all of you Neverlandians out there wrestling with this same choice, weighing the pros of following your dreams against the cons of leaving your old life behind, remember that your friends and loved ones will support you, whatever your decision.  And pulling up roots for the big city needn’t be a sad commentary on the state of things here in Neverland; sometimes, the grass really is greener on the other side, and the only way to begin your new life is to go where your dreams take you.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on July 29, 2014

Fly Away With Me

Whenever I need a little lift, I love slipping into ModCloth’s Ornithology Wiz Top. It feels like butterfly wings whispering against my skin and the vintage print makes my heart soar. In this case I paired the silky flowy top with my cream cardi, aqua cropped skinny jeans and nude wedges. Just the pick-me-up I needed this week!

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Posted in Dear Darling
Posted on July 23, 2014

College Means Cookies

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DEAR DARLING
I’m fixing to go to college. What’s something important to remember about getting out there in the world on your own for the first time? Also, good luck with your job applications!
-BRITTANY

OOOH BRITTANY
I’m so excited for you! Going off to college is such a magical and special time.  For many people it’s the first time they are away from their family and friends, the first time they get to make all their own decisions.  Want cookies for dinner? YOU HAVE THOSE COOKIES!

oprah cookie College Means Cookies

But college is also a lot of really hard work. It’s long hours both in and out of the classroom and there’s a lot of pressure to succeed… and I want you to succeed… I want you to work hard and get the skills and education necessary to make your dream come true, but if there’s ONE piece of advice I can give you, one thing I’d want you to remember, one thing I wish I’d done differently… it’s make sure you have fun.  I worked tirelessly to get “straight A’s” but let me tell you, no one cares if you got an ‘A’ on that math test or a ‘B’ they just care that you have the diploma.  I missed out on a lot of fun by staying in my room to study for test that have zero barring on my life right now.  I missed out on making memories so I could make an ‘A+’ instead of an  ‘A’ and I don’t even remember what class it was for.  As I said, My Darling, I’m not telling you to slack off.  It’s important to work hard in school and get good grades or you’re just wasting your time, but if all you do is work you’re also wasting your life.  Have a wonderful time, Brittany, I’m always just an email away if you have any problems.

Till next time My Darlings!

P.S. Beware those student loans! They’re like signing your soul away!

signing college loans College Means Cookies

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Posted in Dear Darling
Posted on July 18, 2014

Patriot Games

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When Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom” premiered back in 2012, the show’s disillusioned cable news anchor protagonist, Will McAvoy, voiced a much-talked-about rant bemoaning a bubbly college girl’s claim that “America is the greatest country in the world.” When Sorkin, with his characteristic lack of subtlety, went on to use McAvoy as his mouthpiece to rebuke the flag-waving college student for being part of the “worst period generation period ever period,” all the “West Wing” alum wound up proving was that while he may still have his finger on the pulse of Politics with a capital P, he is years behind the times when it comes to generational politics. If anything, recent studies indicate that millennials have more in common with Sorkin’s Will McAvoy than the writer seems to realize.

In fact, a 2014 Pew research report alleges that only 15% of U.S. millennials cling to that outmoded worldview of blind belief in American exceptionalism. Indeed, my generation has grown up in an era when “patriotism” itself is seen as a dirty word, with the perception of having more in common with “fanaticism” than many of us are comfortable with. And millennials seem to be profoundly aware of their own bias in this regard; it’s now common practice amongst those in my generation to celebrate holidays like Independence Day by taking to their social media platforms and posting images of over-the-top, stereotypical Americana, accompanied by the appropriately ironic hashtag #merica.

That said, I would vehemently deny that my generation’s lack of traditional patriotism equates to Anti-Americanism. As usual in situations like this, it all comes down to semantics; While MTV has not necessarily always been a bastion of political adroitness, a recent poll that they conducted arrived at a markedly different conclusion from the Pew Research Center, simply by coming at the issue from a different angle. Millennials may not see patriotism as an “unquestioned obligation,” but 86% of millennial respondents to the MTV poll reported that they were proud to be an American.

On my sister Wendy’s @ItsDearDarling Twitter account, she has a feature called #DashOfDarling, for which she posts almost-daily inspirational or thought-provoking quotes. Back on Memorial Day, she posted a Mark Twain quote which I think gets to the heart of the matter: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” In a world where the all-seeing-eye of the internet and the 24-hour-news-cycle lays bare the skeletons in all of our politicians’ closets, millennials are redefining patriotism as knowing when to support those in power and when to question that authority. And in that context, advancing the ‘merica meme isn’t so much a commentary on our nation as a whole, but rather a scathing look at the wilfully uniformed segment of our population that would rather engage in unreserved nationalism than draw their own conclusions about the state of the union.

I should add that the same Pew Research report that has prompted many in the media to trumpet that there is a generation gap in America patriotism shows that 55% of millennials believe that our country’s “best days are ahead,” an optimism that outstrips that of many of our predecessors. And that’s one sentiment in Sorkin’s “Newsroom” opening that I think the majority of millennials can actually get behind: Whether or not we believe that America is currently the greatest country in the world, we do cling unflinchingly to the belief that “it can be.”

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on July 12, 2014

Is He In To You?

ask-deardarling

DEAR DARLING,
My best friend recently moved to a new city, and she’s having trouble with dating. She’s met a few guys, but they’re either distant or putting on too much pressure. She needs some advice on how to tell whether guy is actually interested. I’ve been off the scene for almost fifteen years, so I’m no help. Can you give some pointers?
-LEIGH

HI LEIGH AND FRIEND OF LEIGH!
Congrats on moving to a new city! That’s so exciting! With that move comes a lot of new adventures, and one age old one if you’re single, DATING! But when you start out on that dating journey how do you know a guy’s intention? How do you know if he really likes you or if he just wants to…umm…park his car in your garage? Well, while there is really no sure fire way to tell, here are some tips.

1.) PRESSURE: If the guy is pressuring you to do something you don’t want to do…or aren’t ready to do then…

lemon dealbreaker Is He In To You?

2.) DATES: What kind of dates is he taking you on? If the dates are always at night, always one on one, and his main objective seems to be to get you drunk then he probably has only one end game in mind!

3.) TIME: How long have you known this guy? How many dates have you been on? How often is he contacting you before or after dates?  If you guys have been going out for a couple of weeks and the guy seems like he’s genuinely putting in the effort to see and talk to you (and not just at night on dates) then you may have found a guy who is genuinely into you!

Bottom line, FRIEND OF LEIGH, if a guy isn’t putting in the time and effort to show you he likes you, or is trying to pressure you into something you aren’t ready for…then he’s not the kind of guy you should waste your time dating, and definitely not the kind you want parking his car anyway!
Till next time My Darlings!

 

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Posted in Dear Darling
Posted on July 4, 2014

Can You Force Love?

ask-deardarling

DEAR DARLING,
There is a guy I really really like, we went out a couple of time, and I enjoy being with him. I think he enjoys being with me. But nothing happened. He told me he was focusing on his work. I really think I am the one for him and he is the one for me.
What can I do to make it happen?
I am so afraid of what could happen if he rejects me and that it breaks our friendship.
Can you help me, Wendy?
-BLEU IN NEVERLAND

OH BLEU,
If only we could make love happen! Life would be so much easier then. If we could just point a magic wand and yell, “ACCIO LOVE!”

dear darling accio Can You Force Love?

But unfortunately that’s just not how life works…and to be honest, love wouldn’t be as magical and special if it did.  All you can do is respect his wishes, stay friends, and see if things change naturally…BUT don’t put your own life and heart on pause waiting for him! Keep both open, you never know where or when love will suddenly appear…just like magic.
Till next time My Darlings!

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Posted in Dear Darling
Posted on July 4, 2014

Let Those Feelings Out!

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DEAR DARLING,
I can’t seem to get over a guy that I really like. I know he doesn’t like me, but he only knows of the over-achieving nerd everyone makes me out to be. I just wish a.) he let me have an honest conversation with him, or b.) I’d get over him.
-ELOSE

WELL ELOISE,
It sounds to me like the way to get over him is to have that honest conversation with him. Right now you’ve got all these feelings and thoughts inside you, and they are going to stay there until you let them out. It won’t be easy to tell him these things, I know, and if you feel like you can’t do it in person you could always write him a letter…but in the end you’ve got to do what is best for you and your heart and that’s letting these feelings out.  Please let me know how it goes!
Till next time, My Darlings!

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Posted in Dear Darling
Posted on July 4, 2014

Seize the Birthday

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My sister, the Kensington Chronicle’s own Wendy Darling, just had a birthday last week, and it made me ruminate on the passage of time, and what birthdays mean to me.  In many ways, I see my birthday as the beginning of a new year, a time to take stock of where I am in my long-term plans.  And as much as I’ve gone to great lengths in recent editorials to explain the stunted development of me and my fellow millennials, realizing just how much further along our own father was at this point in his life can be a bitter pill to swallow.  To say nothing of Kensington Darling, our ancestor and illustrious founder of this very paper, whose many and varied accomplishments I have enumerated elsewhere.  He and his contemporary J.M. Barrie, Neverland’s beloved founder, accomplished more in a few decades than most people do in a lifetime.  Are the days of Renaissance men and women like that well and truly gone?

Well, my answer to that question, dear readers, is a resounding “no.”  As much as I wholeheartedly believe that the deck is stacked against us in a lot of ways, I fear, of late, that I’ve become something of a “millennial apologist.”  The absolute worst thing we could do would be to allow a culture that undervalues us to disillusion us into inaction.  Down that road lies the self-fulfilling prophecy of what our generation’s worst detractors have been saying all along.  And looking back at some of my earlier posts, I wonder if my repeated references to our generation’s “inability” to do certain things isn’t just me falling into the same trap that they have.

My friends, if you take away one thing from my commentary on the plight of the millennial generation, I hope it’s this: That this laundry list of challenges I’ve been amassing are not meant to be excuses, but rather some manner of explanation.  In a perfect world, we wouldn’t feel the need to explain ourselves, but the truth of the matter is, the media’s incessant millennial bashing has left us with something to prove.  Whenever I see another ill-informed commentator jumping on the anti-millennial bandwagon, it brings to mind the immortal words of “Lost’s” John Locke: “Don’t tell me what I can’t do.”  Though I’m as surprised as you are to find myself quoting a pop-culture character as opposed to his philosopher namesake, I think the sentiment is apt.

So, please, dear readers, don’t let me tell you what you can’t do.  We are every bit as capable as the generations that came before us.  Don’t let the prevailing proclamation that “30 is the new 20” lull you into the false sense that what you do in those intervening 10 years doesn’t matter.  On the contrary, what we do in our 20s matters now more than ever.  Sure, we’ve got challenges to overcome, but so has every generation.  If that just means we have to work all the harder to secure the future we deserve, so be it.  So come your birthday this year, while you should absolutely allocate a little time to celebrate another successful revolution around the sun, I urge you also to take stock of where you are in your own personal journey.  The lives we want may seem out of reach now, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on July 3, 2014

Part Five – The Adventures of Pan Solo: The Shadow Falls

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Princess Darleia has been kidnapped. It’s time for action!

- Peter Pan is an independent illustrator and cartoonist who feels like working for The Kensington Chronicle is like suiting up for battle against the dark side every week.  He will never ever admit to crying during Armageddon every time he watches the movie. And if he did, he would make sure you knew it wasn’t because of Bruce Willis but because everyone else looks sad.

Posted in Peter's Panels
Posted on July 3, 2014

Nothing To Fear But Love Itself

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Love has been in the air of late in Neverland, and it has been the subject of much debate amongst myself and some of my fellow townsfolk. Is love merely a distraction, like a seasonal allergy, or is it the rose that the old adage is ceaselessly reminding us to stop and smell?

The inability of some in my generation to form meaningful, long-lasting relationships is nothing if not a multi-faceted problem. In my recent editorial about millennials, I posited that the dearth of serious, long-term relationships in my generation may stem in part from the nigh endless expenditure of effort that is required for us to stay afloat in these dire economic straits. Additionally, the “everyone gets a prize just for showing up” mentality of our current congratulatory culture, and the rash of so-called “helicopter parents” who swoop in to “save us” at the slightest perceived provocation, has left us profoundly ill-equipped to handle actual disappointment in our lives. In a generation that’s been raised to make mountains out of every emotional mole hill, we’re forced to re-evaluate if it is, in fact, better to have loved and lost. In that context, “never having loved at all” can emerge as an arguably more-attractive option. What’s more, in a world where many millennials have been coddled since birth, the prospect of such an all-encompassing relationship can seem like one more way to see their personality subsumed by yet another “other.” And the longer the utter alien-ness of the concept of real romantic love exists, the scarier that prospect becomes.

Take me, as a case in point: in my nearly 27 years on planet Earth, the amount of time I’ve spent in relationships is so small it’s practically statistically insignificant. And until recently, the absence of romantic love hadn’t even created a noticeable void in my life, and least not a conscious one. But two people who have been near and dear to me for as long as I can remember have just embarked upon a romantic relationship, and I’d be lying if I said this development hasn’t given me pause. Now, the subject of this post is so profoundly personal that I will refrain from mentioning the individuals by name, but suffice to say that the positive effects that these two have had on one another in such a short time have been nothing short of awe-inspiring. Up to this point, I’ve counted the man in this scenario as one of the most slovenly and unmotivated millennial specimens I have yet to come across. Now he’s cleaning his place unbidden, and living up to his responsibilities on a regular basis. And the woman in question had been gradually descending into an existential quagmire, but seeing the world (and this town) anew through new eyes has helped pull her out of that rut.

So let me pose the question to you, Neverlandians: Is that what love is all about, in the final analysis? Finding someone who brings out the best in you and never letting go? Is a match well-made truly greater than the sum of its parts? Does deciding to share your life with someone provide a newfound sense of purpose to an otherwise rudderless existence? And if so, is it truly possible for a generation that has had “no time for love, Dr. Jones” to make up for lost time now?

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on June 26, 2014
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