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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 4/11/17

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!

CHARACTER BREAKDOWN

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

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#SavetheDarlings
Twelfth Grade

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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

Bagha Industries Going Public

Dear readers, it has come to my attention that Bagha Industries, helmed by Neverland’s own Lily Bagha, is about to have its initial public offering. (For those unfamiliar with Ms. Bagha, you can learn more about her and her company in an editorial from last year). Though Ms. Bagha is a friend to the paper, she declined to comment on the move at this time, leaving us only to speculate as to her reasons. First and foremost, it appears that she might not have any other choice.

Until relatively recently, companies with more than 500 on-record shareholders were required by the SEC to go public, but in 2012 the senate passed legislation raising that cap to 2,000. But the number of Bagha Industries shareholders is just about to rocket past this new magic number, forcing the CEO to make Bagha Industries stock available to the public, or submit to much stricter disclosure rules. It seems the company has grown too much, too fast. This would ordinarily be a good problem to have, but it remains to be seen just how the issuance of public stock will affect the company.

When Facebook went public a few years back, CEO Mark Zuckerberg only sold 10% of the company. While the exact number of shares that Bagha Industries intends to release is not yet known, industry insiders report that the company will be putting a much larger portion of the company in the hands of the public. Now, this is the part that I’m having difficulty wrapping my mind around. Issuing a lot of stock is a good way to raise capital, but I can’t imagine that Bagha Industries is having cash flow problems. Despite her company’s prolific amount of philanthropic works, our Ms. Bagha has occasionally been accused of having “lost touch” with the 99%, so maybe putting control of a significant portion of her company in the public’s hands is a way of earning back their trust. Of course, Ms. Bagha’s business acumen far, far eclipses my own, so it’s safe to assume she knows exactly what she’s doing.

Like I said, there aren’t a lot of concrete details about this floating around yet, but we promise to keep our finger on the pulse of this important local story. All credible sources anticipate that this stock offering will come to pass within a matter of days. I’ll keep you all updated at this one develops.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on August 20, 2015

Growing Apart

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend my sister’s welcome home party, and I was struck by the melancholy realization that the older we get, the more and more quickly things change. I’ve known Wendy for literally as long as I can remember, and for so many years, whether we liked it or not, my siblings and I were inseparable. Dozens of photo albums’ worth of important milestones came and went in the blink of an eye, and I watched my siblings grow up so gradually that I was scarcely aware they were changing at all. But after she’s spent a mere 6 months, Wendy’s made herself a new life in New York City, filled with a cast of unfamiliar characters, and that realization has forced me to come to grips with just how much I’ve missed her.

Of course, Wendy isn’t the only person guilty of moving on. It’s shocking how quickly Neverland sans Wendy has become the new status quo, for all of us. Michael stepped in to replace Wendy at Dear Darling. Wendy’s duties as surrogate mother to Michael have fallen to me. Our friend Lily even took Wendy’s place as Peter’s girlfriend. The circle has closed, and everyone in it seems perfectly happy. And yet, I wonder how much of that is a carefully crafted self-delusion that we all share.

I’ve been so excited about Wendy’s book and all that that means for her that it’s blinded me to the reality of my own feelings about the void she left in all our lives. Much to my own surprise (and dismay), the reception Wendy received from both Michael and myself at her triumphant homecoming was downright chilly. And the bizarre notion of Wendy being a visitor in Neverland just brings out in stark relief how off kilter everything’s been in her absence. I’d hoped her return would bring us all closer together, but instead some things have come to light that threaten to drive a wedge between lifelong friends.

Now, change isn’t always a bad thing. I recently wrote an editorial about how Neverland’s own Jas Hook pulled himself up by his bootstraps and improved almost every aspect of his life. Though, in his case, he did have to move away and leave everything he knew behind in order to do so. And, to be clear, I don’t in any way begrudge Wendy her desire to forge her own destiny; she’s amazing, and I’m truly thrilled that the world at large is starting to see that. I just hope that Michael, Father and I factor somewhere into that success. And that our family and our friendships can stay the course in these stormy waters.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on July 16, 2015

Neverspeak Weekly 6/23/15

Fatestalkers Unite! Neverland’s own guerilla matchmaking group, Fatestalkers, has a new job. Michael Darling, advice vlogger for the Kensington Chronicle, is the one asking for help this time. He likes a girl, codename Dahlia, who is currently dating his friend. Eek, that’s awkward! Hope the Fatestalkers can help him untangle that one!

Love is in the air? Recent Southern transplant Eli Traynor was spotted flirting with Mia Rivers at Neverland Books. Sources say he walked out with a copy of “Kissing in America” – I think some kissing in Neverland may be in their future. But sources say Eli tried to ask Mia to the Ball but was given a confused shoulder.  Maybe time for some Sadie Hawkins actions?

Local Success. Neverlandians were excited to learn about the upcoming release of an advice book by Neverland’s own Wendy Darling. They were eager to know where and when they could obtain their own copy of “Ask Wendy”. Hopefully we’ll know more soon! Until then, you can always check out her old column here at the Kensington Chronicle.

Paradise in Trouble. Wesley Parsons and Juliet Carpenter are official – Wules, anyone?  Wes was even spotted down on one knee.  But, is he going to have to leave Neverland because of nightmares and a confusing past?  Will he stay, will Juliet go with him, or will love fall prey to reality once again? Sources say they are going to the Midsummer Ball together.  Hope this is a fairytale moment for this new couple!

Heartbreak in Charleston.  Neverlandians were horrified by the recent murder of 9 members of a historic black church in Charleston. Pemberleigh, Constance Moriarty and others quoted members of the black community. Pemberleigh put it this way, “One thing I can do is listen to people of color. I know I’m just 1 small person but I listen. I care.” Our hearts go out to the families of the slain and victims of racism everywhere.

Midsummer Ball!  Neverlandians are coming together for an ocean-themed 2nd Annual Midsummer Ball on July 2nd. The Party Planning Committee of Neverland is in charge of making us dig this shin’ and has been given an unlimited budget by local entrepreneur and millionaire Lily Bagha. Mermaid Lagoon and Fish Girl Pond are both slated to perform. Jolly Roger Soda Ship and Skull Rock Candy Shop will also be on hand with as much ice cream and candy as Neverlandians can eat. Should be an amazing party!

Pan goes Neviral. You used to know Peter Pan as the comic book illustrator for the Kensington Chronicle, but now Neverlandians are recognizing a new set of talents in this hometown personality. His most recent episode of Peter Pan’s Performance Pieces (also called P4) has swept through town eliciting mostly positive reactions.

Getting the Ball Rolling.  Neverlandians are getting ready to dress up and pair up for the Ball next week. Bri Valdivia, Mia Rivers, and Juliet Carpenter were spotted shopping for dresses. Sources say they found some gorgeous ones! Later while Mia was out shopping again with Amber Poppins where she met her would-be suitor Eli.  It may be worth it to stop by the Ball just to see who ends up going with who!

Trending

New Fifty Shades Book
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Posted in Neverspeak
Posted on June 22, 2015

All About Lily

Since I routinely use this space to spotlight some of our more noteworthy Neverland natives, I thought it was about time we dedicated a piece to one of our most renowned residents, Lily Bagha. Though the Bagha name is known the world over, many people don’t know the story of how this Neverland dynasty was forged.

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The Bagha family came to Neverland in the 1920s from West Bengal, India. Lily’s enterprising great grandparents, Sarovar and Priya Bagha, opened a small clothing shop simply called BAGHA, which specialized in garments made of silk. Little did they know that one day, the BAGHA clothing line would become one of the most fashion-forward and sought-after brands in the world, giving Louis Vuitton, Versace, and Gucci a run for their money.

But when Lily Bagha took over as CEO from her mother, Lina Bagha, at the young age of 22, the local phenom had even grander plans. Not content to simply corner the high fashion market, Lily expanded the Bagha brand into the tech market, specializing in tech as far-ranging as phones, computers and even medical technologies. And Lily’s brother, Luke, has even opened a few Bagha restaurants.

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Lily Bagha, wearing ModCloth’s Brushstroke of Luck jumpsuit.

When not in the boardroom, Lily can be found in the hottest clubs, restaurants, and venues around the world, usually accompanied by her celebrity friends from the fashion, sports, and entertainment industries. Though Lily is quite the jet setter, she has a special place in her heart for Neverland, where she was born and raised.

Known as a ruthless but brilliant businesswoman, many don’t know about Lily’s philanthropic side. Lily donates millions of dollars per year to children’s hospitals, programs to end global hunger, as well as women’s shelters. She also gives out 20 fully paid college scholarships to young girls in lower income areas who have top academic scores.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on June 3, 2014

Crow Calls

Hello, my dears! Welcome to the first installment of Crow Calls, Neverland’s very own gossip and town life column! Just don’t call it a rag… I wouldn’t wear a rag and I certainly wouldn’t write for one! Yes, dears, I have eyes and ears everywhere in this little town of ours, and believe me: There’s always something to talk about.

Let’s start with me. After all, I am fabulous. I shan’t tell you much, my dears, and especially not my name, (otherwise no one would ever tell me their secrets) but what I will tell you is this: Neverland seems like an awfully good place for a bit of crowing, and I know you’ll all share some juicy tidbits with dear old CC. I will give you a hint, though, I do spend a lot of my time at Cam’s Teapot and in the Jolly Roger Soda Shop. Both are favorite haunts of mine. (And how could a crow resist a real-live crow’s nest?)

Speaking of, has anyone been hearing the buzz over at Cam’s Teapot? Apparently this charming tea shop turns into a boozy hotspot at night. It’s a must-stop for all those Neverlandians in the know and those who want to be. I’ve been trying to get Mr. John Darling to partake with me, but he seems to be in the wind. Last I heard he had a bleach bottle in one hand and a wet wipe in the other.

And what did I overhear there just the other night? The owner of the tea shop himself invited a certain Miss Ella Jane Evans to dinner at his house… is a romance budding between the packets of Earl Grey and Fairy-Dusted Red Rose? I certainly hope so!

But then there was that weirdo conversation between Emmett and Ella about what Ella should wear on her date with Cam. Why is E.P. giving E.J.E advice on what to wear? And how does he know her wardrobe so intimately? Questions, questions.

Of course, there’s quite a bit of intrigue in the Potts family, from what I’ve heard. Cameron and brother Emmett don’t seem to always get along, nor do the brothers with their father. Then of course, there’s Emmett’s suspiciously quiet fiancé… I’ll have to keep my eye on that family. They might prove to be very interesting.

In other news, did anyone go to the Mermaid Lagoon concert the other night? Oh, who am I kidding? Everyone was there! And if you weren’t, well you missed the hottest ticket in town. I kicked up my heels to their fabulous set and got soaking wet (why did no one tell me to bring a rainslicker!) but guitarist Ansem Muirin winked and threw me his guitar pick after the show. What a cutie!

I spied with my little eye town charmer, Peter Pan, out with good friends The Darlings and that mysterious international fashionista, Lily Bagha. She does seem to sweep into town ever so dramatically, doesn’t she? They certainly looked to be having a good time… A certain W. Darling seemed to be a bit miffed though. But I really can’t blame her, the poor dear, having to be the DD for that squirrely group.

That’s all for now, dearies! I must gather whispers and put my ear to the ground once more… and to the doorknobs… and to cracks in the walls…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Crow Calls twitter
Crow Calls is the Kensington Chronicle’s stunningly fabulous Gossip/Town Life Columnist.

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Posted in Guest Columnists
Posted on June 2, 2014

Mermaid Lagoon

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Posted in Neighborhood Stories
Posted on May 16, 2014

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