"The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a
record of successful experiences behind you. Destiny is not a matter of chance,
it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing
to be achieved." -William Jennings Bryant.
of my friends and they'll tell you I'm outgoing. They might say that I'm
pretty confident. They'll probably say that I'm even a little cocky at times.
And they would right for the most part... I think I am all of those things
from time to time... but that's on the outside. On the inside, I've always
had to fight away a heavy quantities of reluctance... hestiation...
trepidation... And those battles wouldn't be internal (those traits would
be obvious on the outside, too) if it weren't for my work in journalism.
I was 16 years old when I got my first job setting copy for the paper I've
been working for this summer. I was a bit a shy. I had those teenage self
esteem issues. It's understandable. But as I earned more and more responsibility
at work, I found that being reluctant to speak was not a good trait to have
if you wanted to get the story. You can't be shy. You can't be embarrassed.
So, in the six years since... I've done my best to not be those things. I've
worked hard to come across as outgoing and confident (and even cocky if the
need to be arises).
The learning process came full circle yesterday. We hired a new reporter
this week. The mayor called and told us about a little photo op he was setting
up. Seems that we have a growing problem with people dumping their garbage
in places where they shouldn't be. Yesterday, it was near the entrance of
a subdivision. The mayor had everyone there... a police detective, the solid
waste supervisor and some concerned neighbors. My job was to simply drive
the new reporter over and sort of supervise the operation -- letting her
run the show. She took a few photos that would have been very boring. Photos
that I call "execution at dawn" because they are nothing more than people
staring into a camera. Without thinking much, I jumped in and attempted to
compose a photo that actually had folks doing stuff... For the moment, I
was in charge. I had the plan... and people were listening to and following
When we got back into the truck, the reporter said something along the lines
of, "well, you gave me a lesson back there." And I was proud. Six years ago,
I was the shy reporter getting the lessons. Now, I've come far enough that
I can start passing some of those lessons on. That's pretty cool.
While we were out on trash patrol
yesterday, I used the word "peruse." It's a common word in my vocabulary.
I'm not sure why I use it... just that I do. But when I said it, it threw
folks off. Some had never heard it. Most didn't know what it meant. That
threw me for a bit of a loop. I know that I'm not that smart. I know tha
I'm not that far above every one else. I just like to use words... I mean,
there are so many good ones out there. Why not try to give them all a little
use from time to time... even if it means spoken sentences & written
notes are a little longer.
Shortly after the first of July, I worked late one night on the weekly paper.
I left a note to my editor explaining what I had done... I could have left
a post-it note on her computer saying, "I've laid out the three pages I was
assigned. I had to use some filler material. Make sure it's not used elsewhere.
I also took some fire photos that were good. Please use them." But I was
barely into my summer stint at the paper... and my editor was just learning
about my love for words... so I left her a note in true Thomas Fletcher
I take pen in hand this fine July evening to inform you of the fruits of
my endeavors. I do hope this correspondence finds you well and free of deadline
Upon gazing at my desktop, you should observe three files for the three pages
I was assigned. Each of these has been laid out. I should note, however,
that the use of filler material was required. I am somewhat concerned that
said material may be used elsewhere in this week's edition. Please verify
that this is not the case.
Additionally, I was successful in my attempts to accurately record the events
of last week's inferno. I would be most delighted if you could use my photograph
of the tradedy, which you shall find in the "front news" folder on [the file
If, upon receiving this note, you are faced with questions or uncertainties
about its contents, please feel free to contact me by telephone.
I don't know where it comes from, but the stuff just starts flowing when
I talk. Some folks are confused. Many are ammused. It makes me stand out
to just about everybody. And I don't usually mind that... even if it means
explaining to folks what "peruse" means. (1615)