Why Taking Chances is the Key to Happiness

Dear readers, these recent months have been tumultuous, for me and for many of those closest to me. My brief dismissal from – and subsequent reinstatement to – the ranks of the Kensington Chronicle has inspired me to look back on how much my personal and professional life has changed since we first launched the online edition of the Chronicle three years back. With that in mind, I’ve re-read all of the online editorials that I’ve written (with the exception of some of my recent pieces that don’t really fit that description). And this trip down memory lane has made me come to a startling realization: I had no conscious idea of how much of my life up to this point had been driven by fear.

Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. For a while, even fear of acceptance; specifically, with regards to my sexuality. On that front, we’ve born witness to incredible milestones, rousing opportunities to declare loudly and proudly that “love won.” But my biggest stumbling block in finding a romantic partner has not been my sexuality. While I’ve been alone for most of my life, and feared on some level that I’d end up that way, a part of me has also been afraid of falling in love in the first place. It’s taken me 30 years, give or take, to learn that it truly is better to have loved and lost; that rejections and setbacks are survivable, and are in fact the only way for us to grow as people, the only way to find that person with whom we want to spend the rest of our lives. A proper paring truly does make two people better than the sum of their parts. I’ve seen it with my parents, George and Mary Darling. I’ve seen it with Wendy and Peter; Michael and Lily; and now, I think, with John Smee and myself.

John, woefully, has already found himself on the receiving end of my relationship hang-ups, and I am so grateful that he has elected to give me another chance. I realize now that the way I treated him in the aftermath of the Chronicle sale had nothing to do with him and everything to do with me. And I’m happy to report that now that we’re over that hump, we’ve emerged all the stronger for it.

I’m also grateful for my siblings, Wendy and Michael. That sibling relationship can ebb and flow, but I now know that it will never break. As different as we are, they will well and truly always be my best friends. And that knowledge alone is enough to get me through even the most difficult of days.

In the past, I’ve buried myself in my work, sometimes at the expense of every other aspect of my life. Now, this was in part because I’m a workaholic, and always will be; I’m simply wired that way. But it was also a way of distracting me from the other parts of my life that I found lacking; anything to avoid staring into the abyss of crippling loneliness that my self-imposed isolation was driving me inexorably closer to. But if I’ve learned anything from my recent brush with unemployment, and my blissful reconciliation with John Smee, it’s that being a newspaperman isn’t everything. Our jobs don’t have to solely define us, any more than our sexuality does. Being assistant editor in chief of the Kensington Chronicle is something I do. But John Darling is who I am.

I once wrote that “Growing up isn’t what it used to be.” And I do believe that our generation has some obstacles in our path that no prior generation has ever had to deal with, obstacles which at times can seem insurmountable. But I also believe that nothing is truly insurmountable. That we cannot allow fear, or a culture that undervalues us, to disillusion us into inaction. That we must be steadfast in our refusal to let anyone tell us what we can’t do, least of all ourselves; life is hard enough without putting roadblocks in our own path to happiness. We have to not get so hung up on finding “the one,” but at the same time be open to love when and where we find it. All at the same time striving for balance between all of these different pieces of our lives.

Growing up has never been easy. And it was never meant to be. But I couldn’t have asked for a better group of friends and family with whom to muddle through it. And I couldn’t have asked for a more tolerant, nurturing, magical place to do it in than Neverland. I love you all, Neverlandians, each and every one; and every day, you find a way to remind me of just how much I am loved. As long as we all continue to fight for that feeling, then Love truly has won. And if people like us have anything to say about it, it always will.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on April 18, 2017

Neverspeak Weekly 4/18/17

Dear Neverlandians,

I needed to break the traditional structure of this column because this is a really special week. The last few months have been challenging for all of us as we watched our paper (and in some ways our town) become something we weren’t familiar with. Jas Hook had the best of intentions when he tried to take the Chronicle to a global level, but the truth is, Neverland can’t be bottled. It’s a rare place, uniquely its own – a sort of Camelot, or Brigadoon, or Narnia perhaps. In all my adventures across America, and Europe, and (upcoming!) Asia, I have never seen and will never see its like. But, wherever we go and whatever we do, we’ll always carry Neverland in our hearts. And we can share a little of its magic by continuing to represent the qualities that make it so great.

Kindness. Neverlandians welcome all who come here with open arms and inquiring minds. Whatever their occupation, inclination, or species, those who come to Neverland find friendship, fun, and understanding. The Neverland Fate Stalkers exists solely to facilitate the process of falling in love – that bush next to you isn’t just a topiary, it’s your own personal matchmaker. And Neverland Wish Granters raise money to make Neverlandians’ dreams come true!

Community. It seems like every other week, we’ve all gathered at the Jolly Roger Soda Ship to listen to Fish Girl Pond or to celebrate some sprecial occasion. At Neverland Books you can find a story to fuel your imagination or a sympathetic ear from Bri or Mia. Lola will teach you how to ride, Amanda will tell you your fortune, and Enya Rose will keep you fit. Wherever you are in town, Sheriff Tacos and Slayer Teresa Delacruz make sure our town stays safe.

Creativity. We make things here! Katie will make you the best ice cream you’ve ever tasted (in wild flavors like Pan Punch). The Darlings are always writing something, be it insightful, zany, or derrière related. Juliet Parsons builds beautiful houses, Aria Griffiths dances, and we are all acting in Broadway level productions like Panlet and The Wedding Crashers.  Also, this girl I know writes this fabulous column that keeps track of it all…

Magic. In case you missed it, we got a lot of fairies here in the land of Never. Besides the irascible Tink (just recently crowned The Fairy Queen!), many residents have shown a supernatural inclination. Little Lilly-Jane can be seen constantly flying out of Jo and Freddie’s arms. Amy and Nanny Ams (who is mysteriously missing!) have been coaching brand new fairy Aria and may need to offer their wisdom to Teresa who has sprouted wings of her own.

Love. The thing that makes Neverland stand out to me the most is all the love. There must be something in the water (or in all that fairy dust). Soulmates just seem to find each other here. We’ve witnessed the weddings of Mia and Eli Traynor, Juliet and Wes Parsons and soon Bri and Sheriff Tacos and Teresa and Neal. More recently, true love has found Gemma and Anna, Aria and Charlie, and Peter and Wendy. And if the sight of John and John walking around town arm in arm doesn’t make your heart grow three sizes, you need more fairy dust!

We may not be able to take Neverland with us on our journeys across the world, but we can always hold onto the things that make it special. Be kind to yourselves and others, find your people and make room for the unexpected additions. You never know who you greatest friends, allies and inspirations will be. Keep using those beautiful imaginations to tells stories and express what’s in your heart. Never stop believing in magic, and don’t forget that it all comes from love. As long as you keep coming back to that very simple truth, you will never be far from Neverland, Ohio.

Love, love, love,


Posted in Editorials, Neverspeak
Posted on April 18, 2017

Neverspeak Weekly 4/11/17

Will You Marry Me…Right Now? Last Friday night, while the rest us were wondering why we don’t have a better social life, the most romantic thing ever was happening across town. In the woods outside his new house, Wesley Parsons proposed to Juliet Carpenter. According to some local fairies, this was only the beginning of a magical night. The moment Julie said said yes, a select group of family and friends popped out of the bushes (why are there always bushes whenever anything romantic happens in this town?). The groom and the group put on a surprise wedding for the pair complete with full wedding regalia, a delicious feast, and an intimate reception.

They’re Not Gonna Take It. Neverlandians across town are seething about the recent changes at the K-Chron. In a bold move, Jas Hook fired advice columnist and ex-fiance Wendy Darling, assistant to the editor John Darling, and whatever-she-was-this-week Lily Bagha, a close friend to the Darling family. CEO Jas Hook explained that what happened was not at all personal but a purely business decision.  He explained, “The K-Chron needs to go in a new direction and the Darlings are holding it back.” This hasn’t stopped the rallying cry of “Save the Darlings!” from taking the streets and shops of Neverland. The Neverland Wish Granters even changed their grand opening on Friday to a #SavetheDarlings Solidarity Party.

Ferris Approved. Neverlandians turned out last Wednesday for an 80’s themed bash celebrating Enya Rose’s birthday. Teresa decorated local pizza joint Shakey’s with posters of famous 80’s movies and lots and lots of neon. Leg warmers, parachute pants and tutus all made a comeback and the night ended with a screening of the classic John Hughes film “The Breakfast Club.”  In case you didn’t get enough partying in, just a reminder that Agent Taco’s Bachelor Party is happening this Friday at 7PM! Don’t think it’s 80’s themed, but I’m sure Mr. Bueller would still be on board.

Play It Again, John. John Darling isn’t letting unemployment get him down. After reading a pile of awesome submissions, the once-editor-in-waiting has chosen to produce “The Wedding Crashers” by Teresa Delacruz and Gemma Willoe. Casting will take place this week. If you’re interested in auditioning, tweet to @JNDarling indicating which character you’d like to play, with the hashtag #NeverlandAuditions, and then present a monologue of your choosing. See below for details on the characters! Please submit your monologue no later than 11 p.m. this Thursday, 4/13. The show will take place this Saturday, April 15th, at 6PM Eastern followed by an after party of epic proportions. This is one Neverland event you do not want to miss!


Pandora – our brave heroine, in love with Westley, she must fight for her love
Westley – ruggedly handsome, in love with Pandora, but duped by Jasmine
Jasmine – the villain, that vile witch which keeps these lovers apart
Bear Moon – the man in the moon, who shines the truth on deception
Tiger – anyone who is willing to dress up in a tiger costume
Clergyman – this is self-explanatory

Sinking Ships
Refugees Got Talent
Twelfth Grade

Best Tweet Ever
Gina Retweeted
JenAshleyWright @JenAshleyWright 21 Jan 2015
Every time you get dressed remember that, if you die, that’s your ghost outfit forever.

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Posted in Neverspeak
Posted on April 11, 2017

Hook is Back

My fellow Neverlandians: longtime readers will be aware that our editorials are traditionally written by John Darling. Well, you may have heard that Mr. Darling is no longer with the K-Chron. A few other familiar faces have been let go as well. Honestly, ever since I took the reins from George Darling, I have had struggles with some of our legacy employees. I’ve been trying to take the paper in a brave new direction, and some people were just a little too entrenched in the old way of doing things. Sometimes taking a ship in a new direction means manning it with a whole new crew.

You may have also heard that my engagement to Wendy Darling is off. I want to say, I truly believed everything I wrote about Wendy in my last piece. I thought she felt the same way, but apparently I was wrong. It appears that no matter where I go, or what I do, people wind up finding reasons to hate me. I’ve tried to be everybody’s friend for so long; it’s things like this that make me wonder why I bother.

I tried to strike a balance between the way George ran the paper and the way I wanted to run it. I tried to ask my employees what they wanted to cover and our readers what they wanted us to cover. But I was fought every step of the way, to the point of insubordination and outright contempt. Suffice it to say, I’m done asking for people‘s permission for me to run my newspaper my way. Hook is back, ladies and gentlemen. The Hook who built a media empire out of nothing, all by himself. I didn’t need anybody then, why would I need anybody now?

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on April 10, 2017

Love Yourself First

Dear Wendy,

So what do you do if you’re currently with someone in a long term relationship, but you think you have fallen in love with someone else. Who also happens to be in another long term relationship with someone. Do you say anything? Do you just ignore how you feel? I still love the person I’m with so it’s not like the current relationship is bad. It’s just hard when you think you also have feelings for someone else. Or if you have feelings for someone else, does that automatically mean I need to end my current relationship? Help Wendy! I’m so confused.


That Office Lady

Hey Lady,

It seems like you have found yourself in a situation where your heart is saying one thing and your head is saying another. But, which one is saying what?

Longterm relationships are not an easy thing. Falling in love is wonderful and exciting, but building a life with someone is a different ball of wax. We all grow at different paces and in different directions. Just because you came together with someone at an opportune moment for both of you – when your goals and dreams were aligned – doesn’t mean that you will stay in the same place. So, while you may love your partner, chances are there are some things you aren’t seeing eye to eye on anymore. If everything in your relationship was perfect, you wouldn’t be so tempted by the dream of someone else.

Because that’s what it is right now – a dream. This person may seem incredibly appealing right now, but part of the reason for that is their position in your life. They aren’t your partner – you don’t have to compromise with them, accept their flaws, and navigate life’s ups and downs with them. Most likely, you get to see them at their best. And even in the darker moments, you are detached enough from their life that you can see them as mysterious rather than challenging. Because they aren’t as close to you, you are more easily able to gloss over their faults and imagine that they are an idealized version of themselves.

Or perhaps, it really is love.

Oh, my darling, I wish I could tell you either way. But since I can’t, I am going to refer you to three other people who might be able to help you better than I can.

The first is you. Right now, I can tell that you are very focused on the choice between these two people. But, remember, the only person you are really beholden to, responsible for, and in a lifelong relationship with is you. I want you to take a deep breath (or five) and ask yourself what it is you really want. Not just in love, but in life. What are your dreams? Are they in your hometown or far away? Are they more to do with career or family? Are you where you want to be in life or do you have some miles to go? As much as love is important, it can’t be the bedrock of our lives. I consider myself a total romantic, but if I am not living my purpose and caring for myself, I can’t be a good partner to someone else.

If the answer doesn’t come to you after some strong self-reflection and self-care, then it’s time to talk to your partner. He or she deserves to know that you have doubts about continuing on in your relationship. I know you don’t want to hurt them, I can tell by your heartfelt letter. But, withholding the truth can hurt so much more than being open and honest. Think about it this way, if you don’t let them know what’s going on, they won’t have a chance to respond. There are obviously some things that aren’t quite lining up for you two right now. Give your partner a chance to work on them with you. You don’t owe them forever, but you do owe them an opportunity to fight for this love before it’s too late.

The last person you should talk to, if you are unable to work this out with you or your partner is this new person. Are they feeling the same? Do they plan to change their life and their relationship status to be with you? Notice that I didn’t tell you to ask them before talking to your partner. That’s because I really believe this choice you are making has more to do with cracks in your current relationship rather than your feelings for this new person. That doesn’t mean they aren’t possibly right for you. Again, I can’t know that either way. But if you are already in a relationship with someone, don’t you think they deserve to hear the truth first?

Hopefully, you see some themes here. Honesty and communication with both yourself and the people who are directly involved are key. The longer you keep your doubts bottled up, the more insidious they will become. The only way to move forward is to get centered and be honest. And if this conversation is too much for your current partner then maybe it’s a sign that it isn’t meant to be.

I wish you the best of luck, Office Lady.  Remember…


Always yours,


Posted in Ask Wendy
Posted on April 6, 2017

Neverspeak Weekly 4/4/17

Hail to the Chief. After a well-deserved vacation, Neverland’s own version of George Bailey made a triumphant return to his version of Bedford Falls. As always, the venerable editor-in-chief of the now defunct Kensington Chronicle had words of wisdom that inspired everyone he came in contact with. Jacqueline Viana said, “What I learned from @GDarlingEIC today: FINISH YOUR SCRIPT. PITCHING IT IS ANOTHER STORY, BUT FINISH IT. #BestPepTalk. Khaleesi in Asgard said after her run in with the GD, I REALLY need to get back to work on my novel. Finish that first draft ONCE AND FOR ALL. Jessica James summed up George’s new retirement point of view, “Happy thoughts on creating without fear – and rethinking adulting.” Even though it has been hard to go on without Mr. Darling, his absence has seemed to make our hearts grow fonder.

Fight and Flight. Ever since Aria Griffith’s dramatic fairy transformation at the Spring Fling, lips and wings have been flapping about the tiny dancer. Unfortunately, this seems to have put a strain on her relationship with her best friend Anna Berry. Multiple sources have told this gossip columnist that this have gotten a little explosive between the two. Of course, things seem to be rather explosive in general around the brand new fairy – fairy puberty is nothing to joke around about. Remember middle school? Well, just add magic. And wings. Godspeed, Aria!

Work Hard, Play Hard. Some Neverlandians will be surprised to hear that the K-Chron’s John Darling will be producing a local play. Many will remember Peter Pan’s smash hit, Panlet from last year. While Mr. Darling says this will not be a follow up, it will be a similar process. The difference this year is that Mr. Darling is accepting submissions from all Neverlandians until April 10. At that time, he will chose the script that speaks to him the most, cast the roles with local actors, then put the show up the same week! It’s a fast and furious process, but as Broadway great Leonard Bernstein said, “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” Send your scripts to j.napolean.darling@gmail.com.

When You Wish… What started as something personal has become a little more global for Teresa Delacruz and friends. With the help of Gemma, Anna, Lola, Amanda and her fiancé Neal, our local slayer held a bakes sale at Neverland U to finance her Sanditon honeymoon. While the ladies sold their sweets, they realized they wanted to finance other people’s dreams too. This Friday, Neverland Wish Granters will have their grand opening at the Jolly Roger Soda Ship. They will raise money to essentially give people life scholarships so they can take George Darling’s advice and pursue their dreams. Their first official fundraiser was the 24 hour dance marathon at the Neverland Gym where Neverlandians could work off some of those baked goods.

2020 Census LBGTQ Erasure
George Darling
Mr. Darcy and the Secret of Becoming a Gentleman
Amelie the Musical

Best Tweets Ever
Gemma Willoe @BrilliantBennet Mar 28
Tweet as you would like to be twoten to.

Bleu Retweeted
Cait @PaperFury Mar 29
Internet: Everyone can have their own opinions!
Me: Great because I think–
Internet: no
Me: but–
Internet: no

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Posted in Neverspeak
Posted on April 4, 2017



In the days when your brick-and-mortar local paper was one of the public’s only news sources, newspapers were built on subscribers. People had their paper delivered every day, already paid for; there was no question about whether or not they were going to buy the paper, the only question was what parts of the paper were they going to read? But in our current digital news landscape, profitability is entirely click-driven. In the good old days, the art of headline writing was always important, but your paper didn’t live or die by it. Now many online sources feel they have to resort to crafting headlines that trick you into clicking through.


Misleading headlines that promise more than the article can deliver are undoubtedly annoying. But is there truly any harm to it, outside of clicker’s remorse, that feeling that you’ve just spent five minutes that you’ll never get back? Well, studies have shown that the same article with two wildly different headlines can dramatically affect the manner in which the content of the article is perceived by the reader. This is partially because of the short-attention span of online readers who don’t always read articles in full, but also because these outrageous titles that have been crafted simply to attract clicks can color everything a reader sees after.


Employing freelancers is more affordable than having an actual writing staff, and unfortunately we, the public, get what these news sources pay for. Cost-cutting measures have pushed digital news sources towards content that can be produced by pretty much anybody. So we have people who are not qualified to write good content being paid next to nothing to produce pieces that barely qualify as journalism in the first place.


Because clickbait is all about driving traffic to your website, the content of the articles themselves tends to be deliberately-shocking, and to pander to the lowest common denominator. What’s more, it is the antithesis of the hyperlocal news that this reporter was brought up on; the problems of a small town in Ohio don’t amount to a hill of beans in this clickbait world.


Because of everything we’ve already talked about, clickbait’s tendency to be manipulative, fear-mongering, trite and banal, propagating that kind of content damages your news organization’s reputation in the long run. More reputable sites and search engines are already taking steps to weed clickbait out of circulation. So while those short-term gains of a massive influx of online viewers can be attractive, savvy readers are getting wise to the ploy and learning to tune out that kind of content. It is this reporter’s hope that online new sources will soon begin to realize that this kind of “journalism” is harmful to their readers and to their credibility as a news organization, and will cease to engage in it post haste.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on April 3, 2017

The Greatest Adventure

Dear Wendy,

What’s your biggest inspiration when you write? Also, dream vacation?


Hi Shannon,

I couldn’t resist answering this question right now. In case you missed the embarrassing and adorable editorial he published last week, Jas proposed to me.  I have never felt more inspired and more dreamy! There is something about someone putting it all on you that can do that to a person.

My biggest inspiration, Shannon, are my family, friends and you! I have always a relished my role as a big sister.  When I was younger, looking after John and Michael was a full-time job.  As we got older, and they didn’t need me quite as much, I found I could give some of that energy to my friends.  It’s funny – the more love you give, the more you have.  It’s a completely renewable resource! Once I was out of school, I started giving advice to people I didn’t even know, through my blog, making videos, and writing books.  I continue to write because I love to connect with people and offer them my love and support.

As for dream vacations? Well, they’ve been on my mind lately.  Someone may have told me he wants to make up for his hometown proposal (which was perfect!) with a honeymoon anywhere I want to go. If you’ve followed my vlog for a while, you’ll know I have always dreamed of going to Europe. Nothing can beat that mix of history, culture or gorgeousness. But since meeting Jas, my dreams have expanded even further. I would love to go to India and ride an elephant. I’d like visit a dojo in Japan. Maybe I’ll even check out the penguins at the South Pole. I will always be up for having adventures!

I want to go so many places. But, in the end, I will always want to come back here to Neverland because my most important relationships are here. They are what originally inspired me and they continue to do so every day. Sometimes the greatest adventure is to spend every day, the big ones and the small ones, with the people you love.

Always yours,

Posted in Ask Wendy
Posted on March 30, 2017

Neverspeak Weekly 3/28/17

Yes, please!  In a completely unsurprising turn of events, JH Media CEO Jas Hook proposed to Advice Doyenne Wendy Darling this past Friday.  The only thing that shocked this gossip columnist about the power couple making it official was the humble quality of the proposal.  At quitting time, while the rest of us were packing up our bags to go home, Jas Hook showed up at Wendy’s cubicle with a big rock and a heartfelt speech.  In the presence of her brothers, John and Michael, and his assistant John Smee, Mr. Hook officially put a ring on it.

March Madness. It seems like everyone has had or is currently having (at this very moment!) a birthday this month in Neverland. Neal’s party was last week, Anna celebrated a couple days ago, and now, in case you missed the memo, everyone is gathered at the Jolly Roger Soda Ship to celebrate Gemma’s big day.  Special someone Anna Berry put it together with the help of Mia Traynor.   Now that my column is out, I’ll be heading there myself.

Game of Thrones? It seems the mystery of the returning fairies seems to have been solved by Sarah Lightly, the former webmaster of the late Kensington Chronicle and current PhD candidate in Fairy Culture. Ms. Slightly moderated a debate this week between local fairy Tinker Bell and the visiting fairy ‘Queen’ Crimson Mab I (the first male ruler in fairy history). Some serious family drama has Tink and Crimson (half-siblings) duking it out for the fairy throne. Apparently, all the fairies you’ve been seeing around Neverland have returned to witness the fight. All hail Khaleesi!

Bake It Till You Make It. Teresa Dealcruz and her fiancé Neal Cassidy will be holding a bake sale this Friday March 31 to fund their honeymoon to the California beach town of Sanditon. Since Neverland has a surprising amount of Sanditon transplants, I’m sure people will want to come out and support the couple. I feel like a day doesn’t go by here in Neverland in which I don’t see some glorious baked good being paraded in front of my nose (and usually ending up in my tummy.) Here’s hoping Teresa taps all that Neverland baking talent to take her sale to the next level!

Save The Last Dance.  I think we are all on the edge of our seats when it comes to the unfolding drama of local dancer Aria Griffiths.  Last week at the dance, she sprouted wings and floated above the crowd (no, it wasn’t the floor show!).   As if that wasn’t enough, this brand new hum cum fairy was immediately thrown into a love triangle involving her longtime flame Charlie Hunter and new dance partner Andy Chambers.  Word has it that Charlie has decided to transfer back to Neverland U…guess this triangle is now a hypotenuse.

Sara Ramos
Which Austen Heroine Are You?
Millenium Falcon
Inspirational Quotes

Best Tweet Ever
Constance Moriarty Retweeted
Chiara @chiara84 6h
6 hours ago
Mansplainers handling advice from Jane Austen: “Elinor Agreed to it all, for she did not think he deserved the compliment of rational opposition.”


Posted in Neverspeak
Posted on March 28, 2017


Hello, my friends! This is Jas Hook. John Darling has graciously allowed me to use this space to write a guest piece this week. In case you missed the news, I got engaged! To a woman you K-Chron subscribers know well: Wendy Moira Angela Darling. So this week, I’m taking a moment to enumerate a few of the reasons why I asked her to marry me in the first place. I know that some of these reasons are a little cliché, but I think the reason something becomes a cliché is because it has an element of truth to it. So without further ado, I give you: The Top 5 Reasons I Love Wendy Darling.


Wendy has told me on more than one occasion that one of the reasons she loves me is because of how driven I am, how I give so much of myself to my work and to the businesses I oversee. But I understand now that I need to channel at least as much passion into my personal life as I do into my professional one. This might come as a surprise to you readers, but I haven’t dated much; not seriously, anyway. When I was a kid, I was overweight, stuttered, and was stepped over and stepped on by many of my peers. This didn’t do much for my self-esteem, and in turn I was never a very attractive dating prospect. As an adult, the opposite has been true, I’ve had no dearth of romantic options, but very little time to pursue them. On top of that, once I became an international name, it became difficult for me to tell whether people were truly interested in me, the shy Neverlandian who was just starting to come out of his shell, or the rags-to-riches legend that the rest of the world was starting to see me as.

In the beginning of my relationship with Wendy, it definitely helped that we worked together. Wendy was able to see me at my best, to witness firsthand my unbridled passion for the work that I do. And Wendy was the first person in a long time (maybe ever) to see the real me; not the one that my childhood bullies saw, and not the one the paparazzi and the international news created. No, she saw the real me right away, and that was the me she fell in love with. Wendy has taught me that people can be good, and being with her has helped me realize that people can like the real Jas Hook if I just allow myself to let my walls down and let people actually see him.

For a long time, I’ve used my work as a way to run away from my personal life. But now with Wendy, I actually want to spend every my free moment I have with her, and want to find a way to make those moments less fleeting. Old habits die hard, but the great thing about being a captain of industry is that captains get to delegate.


Wendy has a relentless drive all her own: a thoroughly selfless desire to help people, even strangers. Through her advice column, Wendy has literally made helping people into her career. And in bringing that to JH Media, she’s reminded me that a media company should be in the business of helping people, not pandering to the lowest common denominator.


You might not think that a man who built an international media empire out of nothing would be wanting for inspiration, but the truth is, the skills it takes to build an empire aren’t always the same ones it takes to successfully run one. And when you become responsible to shareholders, hundreds of employees, and all of the people who consume JH Media content, it gets a little difficult to see the trees for the forest. Whereas Wendy, even at this level, still uses her column to help one person at a time. The way Wendy approaches her life and her job reiterates that empires are made up of people, and serve at the pleasure of the people, and that as much as possible, I need to keep that in mind moving forward. And the way she connects with people reminds me of why I got into media in the first place.


Wendy is just naturally fun, and knows how to bring out the fun in others. For a person like me who’s spent the better part of his adult life putting fun on the back burner and focusing on work, the ability to experience the former can begin to atrophy. Lately, I’ve been actively trying to have more fun, but I’m learning that, when it comes to fun, it’s do or do not. It’s not a matter of trying, it’s a matter of being open to it, of being in the moment. Not worrying about the future, but being rooted in the now, being present wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. When I’m with Wendy, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. And that’s making me reevaluate the way I lead my life and the way I run my business.


My tendency is to not burden other people with my problems. I’ll sit and stew with it, soldier through it on my own. But for as long as I’ve known Wendy, she hasn’t allowed me to do that. And weirdly enough, I haven’t wanted to. She wants me to tell her about everything, the good and the bad, and from day one I’ve felt like I really could tell her anything. Having her in my life makes every part of my life better, even things we don’t talk about. And I hope the reverse is true for her too.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on March 27, 2017