A couple of weeks ago I responded to an ad in which this newspaper announced its search for a feature writer who, among other things, was familiar with the flavor and character of the Greater Sandpoint area.
The purpose of the search was certainly to continue the awesome storytelling established by Dave Gunter ≠ó who has served the Bonner County Daily Bee and the Coeur díAlene Press for more than 20 years primarily under publisher, Jim Thompson and also, of course, Daily Bee Editor Caroline Lobsinger.
I knew Dave Gunter personally when he first entered his long desired career as a feature writer. I remember being in his house looking at the many tear sheets heíd saved as evidence of his intent.
I was in Daveís life as a friend, the day Jim Thompson hired him into the position he has held professionally all these years.
I can hardly express how honored I am to step into the literary shoes behind such a proven journalist.
I have a growing list of story ideas I want to bring to you, stories about the people, places and things going on throughout Bonner County.
Writing features approaching the same standard Dave so eloquently gave us seems, in moments, nothing short of daunting.
But I think I know the secret: Itís not about me.
Itís about you and this tremendous civic and cultural environment we so love and appreciate in and around the natural-world campus of Bonner County.
I have a long list of articles to write and many more will find a line on that list as time goes on. Iíve started files on several of those story ideas.
Writing regular features of timely interest is like preparing a fine meal for the dinner table. A good gourmet is sensitive not only to the recipes but to the presentation of every meal presented to the guests who will come to his table to dine.
Iíve chosen to bring this first piece to you as an introduction into my view and my passion as a writer.
So Iím writing here about who I am, how I came to this inward knowledge of writing and why I care to give you samplings and reminders of why we live and work and play in Bonner County.
Iíll introduce you to many of the people, some of the contributing businesses, much of the environment and as many of the important activities as I can muster week to week.
It started for me in 1961 in the Sandpoint Junior High. I was in the 7th grade, 12-years old. That was the same magnificent building on Euclid Avenue now completely renovated by Brad Scott and his sons into thee beautiful Sandpoint Events Center and office complex.
One eventful day in the spring of that year, I was called out of class to report to the office of our Principal, Charlie Stidwell. I was scared stiff because I didnít know what I had done to deserve punishment.
Stidwell sat me down shaking in a chair, but quickly brought out a file folder within which he had several of my papers.
ďIím going to talk to your parents about this too,Ē he said, ďbut I want you to know what Iím going to suggest.Ē
I swallowed solid saliva.
ďYoung man,Ē he said as he thumbed through several papers. ďI think you ought to consider being a writer. I think thatís the direction in which you should go with your education.Ē
I donít remember closing my mouth for several minutes of disbelief.
I was a passionate reader at the age of 12, living imaginatively in the books of Jack London and Edgar Rice Burro-ughs. I read every issue of Outdoor Life and Field & Stream, cover to cover.
I had taken to mimicking styles of the writers I liked most and I loved dreaming up stories of my own invention.
So now you know.
If I wander at times in poetic soliloquy or take on dramatic monologues, itís because I love to write.
I promise however to stay on track with the stories I bring to you, but I will always hold intent on giving the pleasure of good logic and fine descriptions as often as I can ó because I want you to come back again, and again, and then again.
Can you suggest features and story ideas you would written or addressed?
Of course. My official contact email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I canít promise that Iíll write everything suggested, but I will do my best. I have ideas.
Life in Bonner County is year-round adventure. Every precious season in North Idaho is full of life and things to do, places to be and people to know.
We have outstanding restaurants, and a tremendous array of artistic and musical talents supported by a slough of events in every season.
We have healthy jobs by growing numbers. We have roads to drive youíve likely never imagined.
We have dozens of smaller lakes besides the two larger bodies of Pend Oreille and Priest Lake. We have lots of timbered public land and a true abundance of wildlife.
We have rich, productive farm and ranch land and interesting characters who manage, farm and wrangle the same.
We have high education, international recognition, and a diverse population of very interesting people.
We have an astounding history and an incredible future.
There is no way I will run out of story material week to week and for these multiple reasons, I invite you to return to my feature each Sunday. I hope to live long and bring much to this table of informative dining.
You can contribute too by suggesting through my email, email@example.com, story ideas and personalities about whom youíd like to see more.
Iím here for you ≠ó not for me.
Thatís the secret that brings this writer joy, which in turn expresses itself as content you should like to read in my columns at the Daily Bee.
Dwayne Parsons can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @ifishwrite.