Jessie Raymond: New blog to get her ‘Out and About’

Among my numerous roles here at the Addison Independent, I hold the title of community calendar editor. In that capacity, I spend hours each week at a computer, inputting heaps of data in exchange for a modest hourly wage.
But don’t be fooled; it’s more than just a glamour job.
I have the important responsibility of making sure that local individuals and organizations get the details of their upcoming community events out to the public. These could be anything from an area church serving up a pancake breakfast, to a certain nearby college hosting a lecture (usually with a catchy title such as “Marking the Chasm: The Unexplored Profit Margin in the Quest for Sympathetic Embolisms in Post-Orwellian Vermiculite”).
In short, there’s something for everyone. Most Thursday editions of the paper, in fact, devote three pages to the wide array of local concerts, dances, book clubs, community meals, children’s activities, rummage sales, nature walks, illustrated talks, historical re-enactments, plays, 5K races and other fun and thought-provoking events that take place in any given week.
As calendar editor, I’m inundated with a constant barrage of these happenings, and I’m thus more aware than most of just how many events go on in this community. (The entries never stop rolling in. Even for an hour. Seriously, it’s relentless.)
So you may be wondering if I attend many of them.
It may not be very calendar-editor of me to say so, but I rarely go to a single one. To be clear, it’s not that I don’t see things that interest me. It’s just that I don’t like to go anywhere.
Oh, I’m by no means antisocial. My coworkers will tell you, between deep sighs, that “antisocial” would be a great quality for me to aspire to, at least for 10- to 15-minute stretches now and then.
But I am a homebody. Once I get home, I prefer to stay there. Some nights, nothing short of a S.W.A.T. team throwing cans of tear gas into our house could persuade me to leave.
In the past, I felt no guilt about passing up all the offerings in the community calendar.But lately, my attitude has changed.
This year, I’ve inadvertently gotten out a bit more than usual, and I’ve discovered — much to my surprise — that there are a lot of really cool, talented and fascinating people all around this county who are doing a lot of great things. Every time I (reluctantly) get out among them, I come away feeling more connected and, frankly, grateful for the experience.
Yeah, it’s cheesy.
But it’s a feeling I haven’t been able to shake. So I’ve decided to make a real effort to regularly check out at least a few of the many events I spend so much time typing into the calendar.
I’ve actually been talking about doing this for several months. I just haven’t followed through because my lofty goal — to take advantage of all this community has to offer, beyond my normal grocery shopping — has lacked accountability.
Until now.
I’m starting a blog. For the next year or so I’m going to challenge myself to attend at least one event from the community calendar every week or two — or possibly three, if it’s below zero for any length of time — and write about it.
The blog will go up on the Addison Independent website,, with the title “Out and About in Addison County.” (I wanted to call it “Jessie Forces Herself to Grudgingly Attend All Sorts of Events for Her Own Good,” but my editor felt I should go with something a little more generic.)
With any luck, I’ll learn some things, have fun, meet some new people and catch up with those I already know. Most important, I hope to discover that while there’s no place like home, it wouldn’t kill me to leave mine once in awhile.
And maybe by sharing my experiences, I’ll inspire others to get out more often as well.
I’ll let you know when the blog is up and running, and hopefully by this time next week you’ll be able to read all about my first “Out and About” adventure. In my first post I plan to dispel the common myths about post-Orwellian vermiculite.

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