Follow MC: facebook linkedin twitter rss Newsletter

Sense and the City: Signing off

Photo by Ashraful Kadir, via Flickr

Today’s column will be my last for Ticket.

I’ve enjoyed writing in this space — sharing stories about everything from dads teaching their children how to skip stones across the water, charities and fundraising events, and women who put their titillating talent (and tassels) to the burlesque test, to pieces about local firefighters, nurses and profiles of some of our area’s most interesting people — like entrepreneur Flori Roberts, and Hart’s Landing bait salesman Aron Johnson and Sarasota’s “sexiest” in February. This column has been a privilege to write and, I hope, a pleasure to read.

Reflective and observational column-writing, in my opinion, is an essential component to the complete experience of reading a newspaper, and I hope to continue to appear occasionally in other sections of the Herald-Tribune. There’s no greater pride as a writer than appearing in one’s hometown paper. And there’s really no greater reward for a column writer than the relationship formed by weekly interaction with readers.

That interaction has taught me that people yearn to connect — and that readers find it meaningful to read newspaper content that, while it might not sell any tickets to events or explain a new tax code, still manages to share stories that get under the skin, ignite the senses and remind us of our shared humanity.

Since launching Sense and the City in Ticket in late 2010, I’ve been fortunate to receive hundreds of responses from local readers and beyond, including seasonal visitors and online readers across the U.S. and in Europe — even comments from people I meet standing in line at the supermarket or at a party. Whether readers disagree or agree with what I write, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed hearing what they think, feel and experience in their own lives.

One of my favorite reader responses was from a man who sent a “snail mail” to me, care of the newspaper. His letter was in response to a column I wrote this past March, titled “Precious Singers in the Night,” which contained the following paragraph:

I smile at [the birds’] faith. Faith that the sound they make from deep within their small bodies will carry out into and through the night air and reach the ears of another like themselves. I find myself somewhat in awe of that faith — the faith it takes to sing in the darkness, through the middle of the night to dawn, across an unmeasured distance, alone, unknowing if, or when, you will be heard.

The reader stated that that he, too, had listened to birds singing in the night and that the column had “struck a special chord” with him. He wrote, “I’ve been a paper carrier for 13 yrs., and have often found myself on some isolated rural road, stopping to roll additional papers in the wee hours of the quiet morning — I’ve been mesmerized and haunted by these awesome sounds — they are fascinating and beautiful.”

What that letter writer could not know — or maybe he could — is that his words struck a special chord in return. Because, in addition to celebrating the mystery and magic of songbirds, that column was about human loneliness and the need to connect viscerally, soulfully, in a world where we are all increasingly separated, by the busyness of keeping a roof over our heads, the sturm und drang of political rhetoric, the machinery of social media; even separated, at times, by our own fear of being unloved, unwanted or unheard.

His letter bridged that divide, offering proof that human beings can indeed sing out to one another across time and space — across newspaper print and handwritten letters — and connect powerfully, if briefly, even without ever meeting. His letter, along with the many other responses I’ve received from readers, answered nearly every question I’ve raised in my columns over the past year or so, confirming for me that courage and wonder and faith do exist and persevere… in the voice of songbirds… in the ears of  newspaper carriers… and in the hearts of readers.

Thank you all.

Follow M.C. on Facebook and Twitter; email her at

Posted on July 5th, 2012Comments RSS Feed
4 Responses to Sense and the City: Signing off
  1. Hello MC

    I really enjoyed reading this column. What an awesome observation. I love how you made the connection with the gentleman’s story and our human condition. Priceless. You are such a talented writer and so in tune to everything and everyone around you. I look forward to reading your works in the future .
    Please keep in touch

    Theresa Loder

    • Theresa,
      you’ve been such a long-time reader and supporter of my writing and me as a writer — thank you so much. Your message underscores the message of the column — and reveals the connectedness of which both you and I write!
      All best,

  2. I read this with a sad heart, though touched once again by your ability to blend personal experience with universal concerns.

    My husband and I have enjoyed your columns tremendously, and we will truly miss finding and reading them in the Ticket. I am grateful that the Ticket published your work and enormously thankful that you shared with us your wonderful and insightful writings.

    My consolation is that I truly believe you will continue to write, and I know that we will try to find and read your future works.

    Best wishes for great success.
    Susan Hicks

    • Susan, your comment meant — and means — so much to me. Knowing you are a writer and editor in the community and that you take the time to read my “stuff” — and your husband too — that touches me and I really appreciate it. I feel inspired to keep digging to find ways to connect with readers — the industry is a tough one as you know, but I’m going to keep chipping away and hope to be able to share good news of appearing in print, even just occasionally, again in the near future.
      Thanks so much for your note!

Leave a Reply