First things first . . .

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Hello and Welcome to “The View from Yountville”!  As the header states, since I’ve been a nurse, a Peace Corps Volunteer, a lawyer, and, most recently, a public school teacher, I feel that I can “hold forth” on a variety of issues.  And, of course, I have a lot of opinions!

So, why a blog?  I recently left teaching, after working in New York City public schools for 10 years, to have a go at writing.  I’ve been writing for some time now, and I have the opportunity this year to really dedicate myself to it, which I’ve been trying to do for several months now.  It’s not nearly as easy as I thought it would be!  In fact, it’s a pretty lonely endeavor, filled with frustration.  And the occasional burst of creativity and industry.

I have found that I am more likely to get writing done if I’m writing for someone other than myself, if I have an audience and a deadline.  That’s where you and this blog come in–you are to be my audience and the blog a writing assignment that I plan to update weekly, a deadline.

As I said, I have a lot of opinions.  On a lot of topics.  They are my opinions, informed by my years in the various careers and places I have been; informed by my background and who I am; and informed by the reading that I do.  I don’t expect that everyone will agree with me–I don’t think that everyone should agree with anyone all the time.  I hope to put my thoughts, ideas, and opinions out there.  And, I hope to hear back from you, to engage in a dialogue whereby my opinions become more informed and, I hope, yours do, too.

We live in a world where it is all too easy to hear only what we want to hear.  We can customize and tailor our news feeds so that they become nothing more than an echo chamber of our own views and ideas about the world.  I am as guilty as anyone about it.  I hope that by putting myself out there, I will become a more responsible consumer of news and more willing to listen to a variety of opinions and viewpoints.

So . . . let me hear from you!  But, remember–and I’ll try to remember, too–one is more likely to be listened to if it is obvious that she or he has listened to and taken seriously the the views of the “other.”  Both parties must feel respected and valued or they can’t listen.  That’s how dialogue works; otherwise it’s just a harangue.

Why “Yountville”?  No, I don’t live in Yountville, or even in California, but . . . my last name is Yount, and one of my ancestors, George Calvert Yount, was the first Euro-American settler in the Napa Valley, and Yountville is named after him.  George is my father’s father’s father’s father’s father’s father’s brother’s son.  And, I like that picture of a much-younger me standing in front of the Yountville sign!

George C. Yount gravesiteGrave of George C. Yount in Yountville

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21 thoughts on “First things first . . .

  1. csindc

    Hi Alan. A weekly blog sounds like a great way to get into a writing groove and to add a layer of accountability for progressing with the endeavor. I for one will be reading and may actually comment from time-to-time. Good luck!

  2. Dara Linn

    Looking forward to what you have to say. I would agree that when we are working we think we will be so productive when we finally quit or retire. It is easy to get distracted. Congrats on getting started. Sometimes that is the hardest step!

  3. Jason Smith

    OMG — I read your entire first blog post and couldn’t find a single thing to disagree with! 🙂

    Congratulations, Alan, and looking forward to a spirited dialogue.

  4. Kimeron

    I can’t wait for the inevitable memories of Morrison, 42nd Street, Carl, Hoagy, Darlene Duncan, Grace Jones and cheerleading tryouts! How’s that for inspiration?

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