There’s no place like home, or how it feels when you find it.
Hi, everyone. With this being my debut edition, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. After all, a journalist’s job is to go around meeting total strangers and immediately peppering them with probing questions. And at present, almost everyone in town is a stranger, so it wouldn’t do for me to be a wallflower in return.
My name is Klint Lowry. Now, the spelling often throws people off, so if we meet, and you call me Kurt or Kent or Kyle, don’t worry about it. I’ve heard every name that starts with a “K” sound. A few people have thought they read it as Klink. OK, that one is hard to let slide. I mean, come on, who would name a kid Klink?
I also hear “Kirk” a lot. Of all my mistaken identities, that’s my favorite; it’s the Trekkie in me.
To give you an idea of where I’m coming from, I’m originally from the Detroit area, where I began my journalism career in 2000, reluctantly joining the ranks of the legitimately employed after I finally aged out of that phase of life where the bohemian, starving artist way of life is acceptable— at least the starving part.
Journalism seemed like the most suitable field to adapt my particular talents toward making a secure living.
The 21st century hasn’t been kind to newspapers. Oh, it started well enough. I began at a large suburban newspaper, where I made my bones.
Within two years, thanks to my experience, education and affinity with the creative class, I had a plum job working the arts and entertainment beat in a major metropolitan market. It was the happiest time of my career, to date.
But after a few years, my happy place began to take on water in what became a familiar pattern of buyouts, layoffs and budget cuts as though they were thrashing wheat.
I jumped ship there — two months before the official start of the recession, another shrewd move — and since then, I’ve described my career as being like moving from the Titanic to the Lusitania to the Andrea Doria, with me just trying to stay afloat, working whatever reporting or editing job I could.
I’ve never aspired to be a hard-hitting, blow-the-lid-off-city-hall reporter, never fantasized about being embedded in a war zone. I’ve always seen lifestyles, especially arts and entertainment, as my niche.
When I was in college, a mentor of mine told me, “Look, there are all kinds of journalists.” To me, “hard news” is important, but so is informing a community about the best things in that community and letting them know about all there is to do and experience.
It’s important to support the people and organizations that contribute to the quality of life. What’s more important than enjoying life, and being happy with where you are?
For the past two years, I’ve been in Little Rock, Ark., writing about and for the trucking industry. It was interesting at times, and the people I worked with were great, but it would be hard to find an industry and a culture to which I was less suited.
That’s the way it’s been for 12 years, making due as I kept looking for a newspaper and a city where the A+E scene was considered an important part of its identity.
In the short time since I gotten here, I feel like I’ve arrived. People have consistently — check that — they have been unanimous in telling me about what a tight-knit cultural community exists here and of this area’s appetite and support for and dedication to the arts and entertainment of every type.
My first day here, I walked around downtown Sarasota. I stopped in a few galleries. I read restaurant menus. Then I stumbled across an art fair I wasn’t expecting.
The small sampling my senses have gathered, and the first few people I’ve met in the short time I’ve been here tell me if anything I was being undersold. Most cities don’t dare dream of what exists here. This is a place where my wife and I can live and work in the manner to which we’ve been wishing to grow accustomed.
Part of me wishes we could skip ahead a few months. Then again, I look forward to getting acquainted with you all.
But I must ask, please be patient. I’m not too good with names, myself.
Reach Klint Lowry at [email protected].