Monday, December 08, 2003

A Month for Inaugurals

Another week, and nary a word shared with my dear readers, at least via this channel. As the old Latin-speaking priests would say, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! But I'll endeavor to do better, to catch up, to try this week to at least briefly get to many of the dozens of lively, interesting little tidbits I've observed, read about or experienced at first hand.

Double Inaugural Weekend. The weekend just passed saw a couple of notable inaugural efforts in our house. My oldest, Michael, kicked off his Ignatius hoops career with a rousing first game on the freshman gold team. He and his mates got off to a bit of a cold start against Mentor, with their basket seemingly having a lid on it for the first few minutes. But when opening-game jitters wore off, they rolled to a convincing victory that was fun to watch. And my favorite center poured in 19 and added perhaps a dozen rebounds in his first game. All in all, a great beginning. But neither victories nor (certainly) personal stats are the point of it all. What fills me with such wonder is watching the sheer joy with which he plays his favorite game, and thus how special it feels. It's like watching a prodigy tickle the strings of a Stradivarius. Can't wait to see my other boy, Pattie, in his spring play, where he takes that same joy and puts it into action making his own joyful noise. The other inaugural came harder: after a dozen drafts of tinkering, I finished and sent off the first of what I hope will be many years of monthly dad's columns for Cleveland/Akron Family. With about 60,000 print copies (and more than 100,000 readers including pass-alongs) it's become ubiquitous in its approximately 15 years of life (don't hold that butt-ugly website against them, the print copy, which you'll find in stacks all around 800 public places in Cuyahoga and a few other counties, looks lots better). I knew the founder, Ann Billingsley, who began the pub in a fashion not unlike most good entrepreneurs, after getting rejected. She had lived in New York, where, as she once recounted, the Village Voice had a great, literate regular supplement targeted at thinking parents. After moving here, she took that same idea to every publisher in town, and got nowhere. So she started her own, later buying and merging into her operation a great, and similar, parent-focused pub based on the west side and founded by then-New York Times Cleveland correspondent Jennifer Stoffel. Anyway, Ann sold it all to new owners not long ago, and the fresh team was looking for some new voices to pep up the pub. The impossibly great news for me: the monthly is adding just two new columns this year, mine and one by the nationally known family-advice guru, Dr. Sylvia Rimm. So expect to hear lots more in the new year from this now-refreshed new pub, edited by my newest collaborator and colleague, the talented Frances Richards. May she undangle all my participals and rein me in when I get wordy or vague.

Straight Ahead: The Holiday Blur. The next two weeks will be studded with a glittering array of amazing get-togethers, which is partly why Working With Words has been quiet for a week, as we furiously tried to finish up all our lavishly paying work in order to prepare for these fests. I won't pretend to be remotely comprehensive, but they'll include the following: tomorrow evening's kick-off event of the Northeast Ohio area's Ryze business network, ably staffed by George Nemeth; the communicators' holiday party this Thursday night the 11th, at the Club at Key Center, which features the never-before-seen spectacle of five professional groups collaborating; the next day we have a mid-day brownbag lunch to hear an update on the OneCleveland digital initiative. And the following week, on the 19th, is the latest in a series of Cool Cleveland's Art/Tech events, which should be especially warm and festive, coming less than a week before Christmas. I'd call it Cool Yule...

And Announcing the Working With Words Holiday Bash. But nestled in there about mid-way on the calendar is also the First Annual Working With Words Holiday Gathering (or a third inaugural event mentioned thus far). That's set for a week from today, December 15th, from 5 in the evening to whenever, in Little Italy, coolest of all Cleveland neighborhoods (at least to my deeply biased way of thinking). Just buzz me at the above email for more info, but do it quick, because the unfortunately limited space is going fast. But if you miss out this time, don't despair: we have a bigger and possibly better gathering, this one a Party With a Cause in the works for not too far into the new year.


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