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Caveat Emptor

Neverlandians, by now you have no doubt heard that my father, George Darling, is stepping down from his position as editor-in-chief of the Kensington Chronicle. When Father made a deal with Mr. Hook to sell the paper to JH Media, we were assured that he would continue to run the day-to-day operations at the Chronicle, and that the paper would not be substantially changed going forward. But, from what little he’s told me about it, to all appearances my father’s resignation is a matter of creative differences between himself and the new management. That being the case, I can’t help the nagging suspicion that the winds are about to change here at our local paper, and quite possibly not for the better.

Though my father’s separation from his beloved local newspaper appears on the surface to be entirely amicable, the fact of the matter is George Darling is a man of far too much integrity to air his dirty laundry in a public forum. If there is something more contentious underlying his departure, we may likely never know about it. And the whole situation is further complicated by the fact that our new editor-in-chief, Jas Hook himself, is inextricably entangled with the Darling family on a personal level; it’s no secret that he and my sister Wendy have been happily dating since her time working at JH Media’s corporate headquarters in New York City.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I have used this very space to sing Mr. Hook’s praises in the past. My respect for him as a self-made media mogul knows no bounds. And he has given me no reason to believe that he has anything but the best of intentions when it comes to my sister; Mr. Hook and Wendy are, I think, a coupling to which we all could aspire. But I can believe all of those things about him and still have reservations about some of the decisions he’s made re: the Chronicle, even in the short time he’s been at the helm, not the least of which being his decision to take the paper global. For a paper that has been about hyperlocal news since its inception, that sends up a big red flag.

And it is with great regret that I report that this article you are now reading will be the last of the John Darling editorials, such as they have been. And perhaps I don’t have quite as much integrity as my father, because I feel compelled to say that the cessation of this feature is in no way a choice that I have made; it is, rather, an edict that has come down from up on high. It is my sincerest hope that the demise of my longtime column is in no way connected with my vocal equivocation about the direction of the Chronicle under the new management (though, to Mr. Hook’s credit, he has allowed me to run this piece unedited, in its original form). I had hoped to one day be the top newsman myself here at the Chronicle, but I have in effect been demoted from assistant to the editor-in-chief to merely a staff writer. As of this moment, I do not know the type of content I will be expected to produce under the new regime. I would love it if my instincts about all of this were wrong; but they so very rarely are.

Dear readers, I cannot thank you enough for your unwavering support over lo these many years. And I am not going anywhere! Not yet. The Kensington Chronicle as we knew it may be dead, replaced instead by the K-Chron, but some things never change. As long as I’m here, you, the people of Neverland, will have a voice. And don’t hesitate to tell me on Twitter what you think of this new direction in the days and weeks to come. The Kensington Chronicle has always been a paper of and for the people; and if I have anything to say about it, the same will hold true for the K-Chron.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on February 20, 2017

The More They Stay The Same

People of Neverland, Jas Hook here.  My darling Wendy recently brought it to my attention that her family’s local newspaper has been floundering.  This news kicked me back on my heels, and spurred me on to do something about it; not just because the Kensington Chronicle matters to Wendy but because it matters to me.  I, too, read John’s editorials week in and week out, and take no small source of pleasure from Michael’s Dear Darling videos.  What’s more, even though I’ve spent the better part of my life far from the town I first called home, an important part of my heart has always been in Neverland.  For a long time, I was the only out-of-state subscriber to the Chronicle.  Shipping a copy to New York on a daily basis is not the cheapest proposition in the world, but being the CEO of a massive global conglomerate like JH Media does occasionally have its privileges.  Honestly, my advisors recommended against acquiring the Chronicle; “It doesn’t make any sense,” they told me, “Not from a financial standpoint.” Well, I’ll tell all of you exactly what I told them: JH Media is about more than just what makes “financial sense.”

I didn’t really know Mr. George Darling very well in high school, but I’ve spent a great deal of time with him on my most recent visit to Neverland.  And I’m happy to report that he’s every bit the charming, local hero that the paper makes him out to be.  His passion for the Chronicle is unmatched (except, perhaps, by that of his son John), and I’m proud to say that more than a little of that passion has rubbed off on me.  Like George said in his last editorial, the Kensington Chronicle is a Neverland institution.  And as such, I want to inform everyone that JH Media maintains a commitment to making as few changes as possible.  With that in mind, for as long as he’s willing and able, there will always be a place for Mr. George Darling at the helm.

I know that John Darling, editor of our online edition, is a prototypical Neverlandian in his reluctance to embrace change.  It’s my understanding that he’s not been taking the paper’s sale  particularly well, which is why he hasn’t written any editorials for the past several weeks.  But I want to make it clear that I know John’s aversion to the new status quo has nothing to do with me or my company; John and I have enjoyed nothing but the most cordial of relationships since I came into his sister Wendy’s life.  I think John is just having trouble wrapping his mind around the fact that the family business is no longer all in the family.  But I have no doubt that John will come around, and his position will be waiting for him when he does.  Because, as a longtime reader, I understand that the Kensington Chronicle needs John Darling as much as he needs it.

So take heart, people of Neverland: your beloved local newspaper isn’t going anywhere.  If anything, I’m committed to making the Kensington Chronicle better than ever.  I’d also like to invite your input during this period of transition, to make sure we’re putting out a paper that meets, and hopefully even exceeds, your needs.  Despite my complicated history with Neverland, in my heart it’s always been my home.  It is an incredible honor to shepherd my favorite local paper into what I know will be a new era of prosperity, and I’m fully aware of the great responsibility that that entails.  Your stories are the heart of Neverland, constant readers, and we’re going to keep telling your stories.  Because I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on September 9, 2015

Neverspeak Lastly?

As you all know, there have been a few changes here at the Chronicle in the last couple weeks. The good news is our new owner Jas Hook has assured us that we all still have jobs. The other news is that we aren’t totally sure what those jobs will look like. As JH Media takes over operations, Neverspeak Weekly will be taking a brief hiatus to “retool, reimagine, and reignite.” Though I am a great fan of alliteration, those are Mr. Hook’s words, not mine.

I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed writing about the goings-on in Neverland this summer. What started out as a job became a true pleasure as I started to think of you less as subjects and more as friends. Since I don’t know when this column will be back up and running, I would like to use this last edition as a moment to reflect on an amazing summer in Neverland. Below I have pulled some of my favorite gossip items from the last 11 issues.

Scandalous!?  Neverlandians’ reactions were mixed to the first publication of this column.  There was a lot of support but also some uncertainty.  Just know that we here at the Kensington Chronicle are trying to shake things up and add a new dimension to our beloved Neverland.  No one knows what that crazy, free-spirit of a gossip columnist Ms. Skylights will be up to next!

A Lovely Night. Neverlandians gathered on Thursday night for the 2nd Annual Midsummer Ball. The night was a smashing success. Though some townsfolk worried that this sophomore outing wouldn’t measure up to last year’s festivities, they were soon mollified and amazed by this year’s ball-to-the-wall bash. With the help of Lily Bagha’s generosity and the Party Planning Committee’s dedication, Neverlandians enjoyed more music and more spectacle than ever before.  Check out the photospread below for the ball’s fierce fashion!

Love Bugs. No bugs had to be planted by this gossip columnist to pick out the couples in the room on Thursday night. Everyone wants their Cinderella moment at a ball, and, happily, a large amount of Neverlandians got just that! Juliet and Wesley were seen sharing bites of ice cream, a charming cowboy made a last minute appearance to dance with a book shop belle, and Bri was seen dancing with Agent Tacos back early from his assignment. And in the most romantic moment of the night, Sarah-Jane Lakewood received a proposal from her boyfriend Alfie.

Taco Time! Bri Vivladia, Agent Tacos and friends had a Taco Night this past Friday on Big Bear Rock. Sources say it was mostly couples sipping on sangria and taking in the beautiful summer night. Eli Traynor escorted Mia Rivers, Juliet Carpenter brought Wesley Parsons, Nanny Ams came with Bertie Screener (before he was scared away by some overly friendly Fate Stalkers.)

Holy Mole-y! The Fate Stalkers have been out in full form braving the summer heat for love. (Though maybe it isn’t so brave since they carry their shade around with them.) Most Neverlandians were happy to see them out and about, but some thought they were getting a little bushy – I mean, pushy. Word has it things got heated between the Stalkers and Bertie Screever after he threw a banana peel into a shrub-covered Stalker. However, things have a way of working out. Through this altercation, the Fate Stalkers met their newest member, the recently inducted Dole the Mole. As far as we know, this is the first animal Fate Stalker.

New Sheriff in Town. G. Harrison Lestrade has been offered the job of Neverland’s Deputy Sheriff pending a background check. But, since he comes directly from the FBI, that shouldn’t be a problem! While we’ve had to say goodbye to a couple of Neverlandians, we are excited to welcome him and accountant Wesley Parsons (who’s looking for a roommate!) to the community full time.

Hearty Party. Everyone had a great time at the Jolly Roger Soda Ship 100 year Anniversary Party. Aimee and Katie served up an endless supply of delicious sweets and treats. Throughout the day patrons answered trivia about the shop’s history in between socializing and listening to a set by Fish Girl Pond. Neverlandians in attendance included Wesley Parsons, Juliet Carpenter, G. Harrison Lestrade, Bri Valdivia, Mia Rivers, Nanny Ams, Teresa Delacruz, and many more.

Neverspear In Love. This is why we love being Neverlandians! Everyone in town turned out to support Peter Pan in his artistic pursuit this past Thursday. Auditions took place on Wednesday, and with only a day’s notice actors took the stage the next night. John Darling, Michael Darling, G. Harrison Lestrade, Teresa Delacruz and Rowan O’Connor joined the cast along with Mr. Pan while Elsa Fairy, Lorelie Williams, Fish Girl Pond and yours truly helped bring the production together. Everyone celebrated a job well done with a toast at the Jolly Roger after the show.

Sign Language. Wendy Darling started her book tour here in Neverland last week. Locals lined up outside of Neverland Books to get their hands on some of the first copies of her new book “Ask Wendy!”. The local, soon to be national, celebrity was gracious and charming as she signed books for everyone who showed up and a few extras for those who couldn’t be there.

Beyond the Pale.  Even though it’s the end of summer and most of us are sun-kissed or just downright red, there have been a few new residents of the paler variety. Maybe they’re Scandinavian? But I never knew Scandinavians to have such a thirst for tomato juice. Well, thankfully, Teresa Delacruz seems to know how to keep those Scandinavians in line.  And don’t worry, she’s back from her vacation to Chicago with Neal.  Even Scandinavian wranglers need a little fun in the sun.

My Fair Soiree. As expected, Ms. Lakewood’s engagement party was quite the event! The guest list included Cecco, Ed Teynte, her roller derby crew, Marvel executives, Chris Pratt and Mermaid Lagoon. Neverlandians in attendance were Wendy Darling, Jas Hook, Sheriff Lestrade, Bri Valdivia, Nanny Ams, and Fish Girl Pond. The surprise of the night was when Special Guest Julie Andrews came out of retirement to sing to the couple.

PS (Perfectly Single). Not knowing that this might be the last Neverspeak for a while, I promised a Singles’ edition. I felt it was more important that I devote this article to a retrospective on the column. But, I do have a few words for the singles out there. Embrace your status because you are in the best position to prepare yourself for a great relationship. As one of my heroes, Lucille Ball, once said, “Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line.”

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Posted in Neverspeak
Posted on September 8, 2015

Neverspeak Weekly 9/1/15

Party Patrol. There was a lot of build-up to Sarah-Jane Lakewood’s NYC engagement party this week. After she enlisted security help from Teresa Delacruz and Sheriff Lestrade, the Neverland Fate Stalkers were called to expand their normal matchmaking duties to include public safety. They may be lovers, not fighters, but Neverland stayed quiet except for a few rustling shrubs.

A Michaelstone! Kensington Chronicle’s resident advice columnist and vlogger Michael Darling celebrated his 100th episode of Dear Darling this week. His unique blend of heartfelt advice and off-the-wall antics have made for quite a run. Here’s hoping he’ll have a hundred more great episodes – maybe guest starring his sister and new boss-in-law Wendy!

My Fair Soiree. As expected, Ms. Lakewood’s engagement party was quite the event! The guest list included Cecco, Ed Teynte, her roller derby crew, Marvel executives, Chris Pratt and Mermaid Lagoon. Neverlandians in attendance were Wendy Darling, Jas Hook, Sheriff Lestrade, Bri Valdivia, Nanny Ams, and Fish Girl Pond. The surprise of the night was when Special Guest Julie Andrews came out of retirement to sing to the couple.

Editor-in-Grief. If you have been keeping up with the paper through this difficult transition, you may be missing a certain voice. If the Kensington Chronicle is the heart of Neverland, then John Darling is the heart of the Kensington Chronicle. We here at the paper miss his passion and commitment, and look forward to his return! Now back to my absolutely filthy desk…

All My Single Landies! A certain gossip columnist promised to feature sexy singles in her column sometime. Well, carpe date ’em! If you’d like to be mentioned, DM me with a little bio about yourself and what you’re looking for in a significant other. Summer’s coming to an end, and as that crisp fall weather approaches, we all deserve someone special to cuddle up to.

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Posted in Neverspeak
Posted on September 1, 2015

Neverspeak Weekly 8/25/2015

New Paper. If you haven’t already heard, JHMedia has bought the Kensington Chronicle. It’s definitely a little weird around here, but we are optimistic that the new merger will allow the Chronicle to keep both its integrity and its place in the hearts of Neverlandians. It’s pretty well known around town that the paper has been going through some hard times. While it’s difficult to imagine the paper being run by anyone but the Darlings, the important thing is that it’s still here.

Reapply Your UnBlock. The members of the local band Fish Girl Pond were seen with some friends at the Jolly Roger taking a break from touring and songwriting for some much needed R&R. Nanny Ams, Mia Rivers, and Rowan O’Connor joined them over plates of nachos and bowls of ice cream. Word has it the band is working on some new material. Perhaps they will debut a new song at Sarah-Jane Lakewood’s engagement party this week?

Sign Language. Wendy Darling started her book tour here in Neverland last week. Locals lined up outside of Neverland Books to get their hands on some of the first copies of her new book “Ask Wendy!”. The local, soon to be national, celebrity was gracious and charming as she signed books for everyone who showed up and a few extras for those who couldn’t be there.

Beyond the Pale.  Even though it’s the end of summer and most of us are sun-kissed or just downright red, there have been a few new residents of the paler variety. Maybe they’re Scandinavian? But I never knew Scandinavians to have such a thirst for tomato juice. Well, thankfully, Teresa Delacruz seems to know how to keep those Scandinavians in line.  And don’t worry, she’s back from her vacation to Chicago with Neal.  Even Scandinavian wranglers need a little fun in the sun.

Bagha Tricks. Local entrepreneur Lily Bagha is having a bad week. Just as word leaked that she and Peter Pan were all but finished, her company was taken over in a hostile move by JHMedia. Bagha Industries had gone public earlier this week, flooding the market with its stocks. Apparently, this was a gamble. The company stood to make a huge profit while they risked someone buying up all the stocks and have the controlling share of the company. This is exactly what happened when Jas Hook swooped in and immediately booted Lily Bagha out.

Star-crossed. Sarah-Jane Lakewood and fiance Alfie will be celebrating their engagement this Friday. It should be a swanky party – the only catch is that it is taking place in New York.  The couple’s families and circle of Hollywood friends will be in attendance.  Word has it they are flying in Mermaid Lagoon for the occasion. The party will be a throwback to 1920s glamour with New Orleans cuisine and endless champagne.  So, if you can hop a plane (or convince Sarah-Jane to share her jet), you probably should!

Boy in Blue. Neverland couldn’t be happier with its new Deputy Sheriff G. Harrison Lestrade. One resident said, “I feel safer knowing that Deputy Sheriff Lestrade is on the case, keeping our town safe. And it helps that he’s cute.” Another pledged to make him her famous chili cheese tacos stating, “Well, that’s his nickname isn’t it?” Yes, yes it is. Thanks for your constant vigilance, Deputy Sheriff Tacos! Let us know how those chili cheese things turn out!

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Posted in Neverspeak
Posted on August 25, 2015

Neverspeak Weekly 7/28/15

Ten Delicious Decades! As mentioned last week, the Jolly Roger Soda Ship is celebrating its 100th anniversary tomorrow, July 29th. The crew will be hosting an all-day party at the shop with yummy treats and music from Fish Girl Pond. In addition, shop owner Aimée Jolie will be posting an extensive history of the shop, chronicling its decades-long presence in Neverland and it’s ever-evolving role as a gathering place throughout the tumultuous twentieth century in America.

Reality Bites. Since the return of Jas Hook and Wendy Darling to Neverland, some Neverlandians have been tuning into the JHMedia Livestream to learn more about the company (and feed their curiosity about the power couple). Last Thursday those same Neverlandians witnessed a shocking confrontation between Hook and Neverland’s favorite son Peter Pan. Peter came across as, for lack of a better word, a bully. It will be interesting to see how he handles his new notoriousness.  Is the play really the thing?

Get me to the Church… Sarah-Jane Lakewood set a date for her nuptials to fiance Alfie. Neverlandians, mark your calendars for August 15, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Should be a hot ticket! As in literally very hot. August in Louisiana hot. Lakewood says invitations will be going out soon. Don’t give her honeymoon advice if you want to make the list!

Changes of Heart (and Location). Teresa Delacruz has relocated to New York City with her boyfriend Neal. Though everyone will be sad to see less of her, we wish her the best with her new life. And if you’ve stopped by Neverland Books lately, you’ve probably noticed that Mia Rivers still has not returned to her post. You only have to look so far as her tumblr to find that she’s currently residing at a crossroads between Neverland and Denver.  Though not always an easy thing to do, try to follow your heart where it leads, Mia!

New Sheriff in Town. G. Harrison Lestrade has been offered the job of Neverland’s Deputy Sheriff pending a background check. But, since he comes directly from the FBI, that shouldn’t be a problem! While we’ve had to say goodbye to a couple of Neverlandians, we are excited to welcome him and accountant Wesley Parsons (who’s looking for a roommate!) to the community full time.

Local Blues. Neverlandians were dismayed to read last week’s editorial in which John Darling, assistant to the Editor in Chief, opened up about the Kensington Chronicle’s financial difficulties. As a recent hire, this gossip columnist found the the article especially distressing. However, it’s been encouraging to watch Neverlandians gather around the paper in support. Many citizens have pledged to pick up subscriptions and the Neverland Care Center guaranteed that copies of the Chronicle would always be available in its waiting room. Keep supporting local news!

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Posted in Neverspeak
Posted on July 28, 2015

Print is Dead. Long Live Print?

Is print dead?  It’s a complicated question.  Here’s what we know: The New York Times bought The Boston Globe for $1.1 billion in 1993.  In 2013, Red Sox owner John Henry bought the paper for $70 million.  In just 20 years, the Globe depreciated in value by more than a billion dollars.  Starting in 2009, a photojournalist named Will Steacy spent 5 years documenting the decline of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the third oldest surving paper in our nation.  Between 1990 and 2009, the Inquirer laid off nearly 500 of their 700 staff.  The paper, once housed in a Daily-Planet like art deco building colloquially referred to as the Tower of Truth, was relegated in 2012 to the third floor of a former department store on the periphery of the city.  Once known for breaking important local and international stories, like the Opec Oil scandal in 1973, the Inquirer is down to a circulation of merely 150,000, and boasts ad revenues that are 25% of what they were a decade ago.  And I’m sure most of us native Ohioans remember when the Brown Publishing Company filed for Chapter 11 in 2012.  Brown owned 18 daily newspapers, 27 paid weeklys, many of which were in our proud state.

And if you’ve been following my father on Twitter, you’ll know that he may be a little too open about just how much this decline in the valuation of print newspapers has affected the Kensington Chronicle.  I debated whether or not to write this at all, because dyed-in-the-wool newspapermen are trained not to make themselves the story, so stories of the demise of hyperlocal papers like our own have been in many cases woefully untold.  But since this indeed an editorial, I felt it was not entirely inappropriate for me to editorialize.  Additionally, putting up a brave front in the face of declining print sales does nothing for you loyal readers who still pick up a physical copy of the paper on a daily basis.  If we’re in dire financial straits, our loyal readership should be the first to know.  Because it’s you who will be most affected if the family dynasty that is the Kensington Chronicle ceases to exist..

As much as I have been a strong proponent for the digital edition of the Chronicle, I am well aware of just how much online news sources have contributed to the decline in print newspapers.   Classified ads, once the lifeblood of many papers, have largely migrated to websites like Craigs List.  And one of the true casualties of online news sources muscling out their print competitors is local civic pride.  Who will cover local mayoral and city council races if papers like the Chronicle fold?

On the other hand, doomsayers have been declaring that print is dead for at least a decade, and they have, strictly speaking, yet to be proven right.  I can only hope that people across the U.S. are realizing that they should turn to online sources for certain types of news, and papers like the Chronicle for the hyperlocal fare that is our bread and butter.  I urge all of you readers to renew your print subscriptions to the paper, and to spread the word about us.  Because even though Father is being somewhat candid about the paper’s financial situation, I feel as if he is shielding me and the rest of my family from the worst of it.  Losing this paper would be like losing a part of myself.  And we will not go quietly into that dark night; not if I have anything to say about it.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on July 23, 2015

The Importance of Being George

In honor of Father’s Day this year, I thought it was long since time I wrote a piece on the man responsible for bringing you the Kensington Chronicle 7 days a week 52 weeks a year, my father and our editor in chief, George Darling. And how, if not for a chance meeting more than 30 years ago at the Neverland Train Station, I wouldn’t even be here.

As you can no doubt imagine, it takes a certain kind of person to run a newspaper day in and day out. George Darling is driven, organized, and knows how and when to delegate. But believe it or not, my father was not always the taskmaster he is today. Though George is loath to admit it himself, my grandfather, David Darling, has imparted to me on more than one occasion that in his formative years, my father was relatively aimless. David Darling saw his son’s potential, but feared that George was in danger of squandering it. George, for his part, wanted the freedom to make his own choices, and in those days, being groomed to take over the family business was the furthest thing from what he wanted.

David Darling was ultimately able to impress upon his son the importance of getting a college education, and George begrudgingly enrolled at Neverland University, from which he emerged four years later with a degree in English and Journalism. But this was far from the last time George and his father would engage in a heated debate about the direction of his life. Not long after graduating, George and David would have the most contentious fight of this kind to date. At an impasse, a furious George stormed off, intent on fleeing Neverland for parts unknown. But fate had other plans.

It just so happened that the woman working the ticket counter at the Neverland Train Station that fateful day was one Mary Davies. To hear my father tell it, once he locked eyes with Mary for the first time, the rest of the world faded away. She was the most beautiful creature George had ever laid eyes on, and from that moment forward, he never thought about leaving Neverland again.

For much of my life, I’ve harbored the belief that romantic entanglements are a distraction, at best. But in recent months, I’ve begun to revise that opinion. I’ve seen evidence of how the right pairing can create a union that is far greater than the sum of its parts. And this was absolutely the case with George and Mary Darling in the early years of their courtship. Now, starting a family was at the forefront of George’s mind, and he decided to put his journalism degree to good use. Much to David Darling’s relief, his son finally agreed to follow in his footsteps, and Grandfather could rest assured that the dynasty of Darlings at the helm of the Kensington Chronicle would continue, unabated.

And, of course, for my money, the most important result of the union of George and Mary Darling is their three children, myself and my siblings. I, personally, have been a newspaperman from the womb, and the paper will be in good hands when my father does decide to retire. So we at the Chronicle wish George Darling, and all of you other fathers out there, a very happy Father’s Day. We owe all of you a debt we can never possibly repay.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on June 22, 2015

Neverland Without Wendy

This week, I thought I’d write a follow-up to my last editorial about my sister Wendy leaving Neverland.  In the run-up to her departure, I was so gung-ho about what this career move meant for Wendy that I barely stopped to think about how her leaving would affect me.  Now that a couple of months have passed, the impact of her flight has begun to stick out in stark relief.

For instance, before now I don’t think I ever consciously acknowledged just how important Wendy’s presence was in the ecosystem of our apartment.  When it was me, Wendy and Michael living together, there was a delicate balance to the universe.  Now that it’s just me and Michael… Well, he and I are both still alive, so I guess things aren’t as bad as they could be.  And don’t get me wrong, I love my brother dearly, but I never quite realized the extent to which he is incapable of doing almost anything for himself.  Wendy was always as much like a mother to Michael as a sister, and now those motherly duties are falling to the only sibling that yet remains.

I’m also feeling Wendy’s absence more directly.  When you’ve seen someone day in and day out for as long as you can remember, it’s difficult to describe just how much of a void you feel after they’ve gone.  And while Wendy and I were decidedly diligent about keeping in contact on a daily basis in the immediate aftermath of her departure, as the weeks wear on I fear we have both been woefully remiss in maintaining this level of communication.  Wendy’s sojourn to the big city marks the first time that any of my siblings have been absent from Neverland for this length of time, and I’d be lying if I said that I’m entirely equipped to deal with the situation.  To one degree or another, Wendy had been helping me muddle through almost all of the things I struggle with as a prototypical millennial, and with her gone, I must admit I’m starting to feel a bit like a ship without a rudder.

That said, I guess you can’t really expect your loved ones will ever learn to fly if they always keep one foot in the nest.  I suppose on some level I always understood that Wendy’s life post-Neverland couldn’t begin in earnest until our beloved hometown had receded sufficiently into her rearview mirror.  The toughest thing about encouraging your friends and loved ones to follow their dreams is that sometimes said dreams take them worlds away, and threaten to make your once-entwined paths finally and inevitably diverge.  I can say, categorically, that Neverland is not the same without Wendy, and I have no doubt that Wendy’s life has undergone a concomitant change as well.  I only hope that, in the final analysis, the old axiom about change being good turns out to be true in this case.  And I suppose, so far as that goes, only time will tell.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on August 15, 2014

Flying the Coop

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

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