Time: What a concept …

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A reader has asked why there seems to be less “abundant” writing here than there was before. That’s a good question, and I’ll see if I can answer it.

The simplest response is that there has been precious little time for writing. If you know me well, you know how difficult it is for me to say no or to sit still – unless it’s time for a beer break. That’s a blessed exception, and one that I cherish down to the last drop, though not as often as people think – or I’d like.

I generally don’t kill time sitting in front of the television set because there isn’t enough time to read, learn and grow to permit “American Idol” to intrude.

I have a career that is still evolving and probably always will, an existing business to keep running and growing, a projected business expansion to get started, and what seems like two or three other lives to live somehow and somewhere within in the mix—family, bicycling, cleaning the house, planning travels, cooking dinner … you name it.

Yes, writing is essential for me; without it, I’m unhappy, but there are times when it must take a back seat, and does so, albeit grudgingly. You don’t know how hard it is to look your long overdue muse in the eye and say: “Not tonight. I must attend a performance of the Conjoined Councilmen.”

(If their tone-deaf ramblings didn’t inspire sufficient bile to produce words, the free price of admission would be even more worthless than their vision of life. I suppose I should be thankful for such exceedingly small favors.)

For whatever reason, I harbor the belief that “retirement” is a concept not applicable to my life. To stop working, thinking and learning is to be waiting to die. Type “A” I’m not, though certainly manic on occasion, with more ambition than I tend to acknowledge, and consequently, leisure time is merely the tail, not the dog.

When it comes to the subject matter for which this blog has become locally, shall we say, notorious, I take the obligation to inflict my views on the city with a seriousness that reflects a fundamental work ethic that should be apparent by reading the preceding.

To look back on the past four years in the context of this chronicle and my own personal relationship with the city is to see steady evolution inward, both in the manner by which my passion has been drawn toward the urban experience downtown, and also by my involvement in matters pertaining to it.

I joined the board of Develop New Albany more than a year ago, and was appointed by Mayor England to serve on the board of the Urban Enterprise Association beginning in January, 2008. Permit me to say only that the view is somewhat different from the inside looking out, and I know now more than ever before that while freedom of speech isn’t negotiable, perception of reality on the part of others should never be taken for granted.

It’s February, 2008, and the local mood might be viewed as transitional. It’s a presidential election year, with national economic trends intruding on the disastrous Iraqi incursion as a topic for barroom discussion. Indiana’s media has been obsessed with exaggerating the dimensions of the state’s property tax “revolt,” which more than anything else is a red herring of truly colossal dimensions, but then again, both sex and disgruntlement move units, don’t they?

New Albany’s new mayoral administration and a reconfigured city council have been on the job less than two months. A handful of recent reversals aside, good things are breaking downtown. My optimism is guarded, but genuine.

That’s it for now. Thanks for coming by.

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