Returning to normalcy (but consider the source)

imageAs you probably noticed (if not, please pretend you did) that I have been absent from my blog the last few weeks.

While I’d like to say it’s because my vacation spot in the Caribbean was too remote for Wi-Fi, it actually had less to do with banana drinks and tanning lotion, and more to do with a “perfect storm” of life-changing events that I am just now getting a handle on.

The short version? Over the last three weeks I was promoted to Editor at our newspaper (See the card? That makes it official!), my new book was released and I become Membership Chairman for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC).

Oh, and somewhere in there I turned 50.

So what does all of this mean? Essentially it means I’ve been getting my butt kicked. For example, just moving into my new office meant going through 17 years of accumulated crap important journalistic files, moving furniture, painting, hiding graffiti about the previous editor, etc… 

My old work space was the product of 17 years of photos, coffee stains and candy wrappers.
(Circa. 2013) My old work space was the product of 17 years of photos, coffee stains and candy wrappers.

Moving into my new office meant being a little more selective about what I taped to the walls since I might get a visit from our mayor, state officials, readers and the occasional politician. For those reasons, my feng shui is professional with a touch of whimsy…

I moved the desk of the original editor who hired me, Bob Serra, back into my office, along with that AP world map from 1978. Mostly because it uses the term “caucasoid” to describe Caucasians…

I don’t have a fancy journalism degree to hang, so I let my journalism awards do the talking. Plus, I have an Indian Jones figurine that says “Snakes, why’d it have to be snakes” when you press his back.

My reference library of AP Style books, newspaper design, Thesaurus and Origins of Marvel Comics superheroes. Next to it is what I call my "well-hung" wall of awards, which have all been in a box for 17 years.
My reference library of AP Style books, newspaper design, Thesaurus and Origins of Marvel Comics superheroes. Next to it is what I call my “well-hung” wall of awards, which have all been in a box for 17 years.


“With great power comes great deniability” or something like that…

I dodged the editorship bullet twice before because, to be honest, I wasn’t quiet ready for it. To be the kind of editor I wanted to be required giving it more attention than I was willing to give as I pursued my career as a columnist and author. But when the opportunity presented itself a few weeks ago, I felt the timing was right in my career and life.

Maybe it was the sense of serendipity.

Maybe it was turning 50.

Maybe it was because we held the meeting at our local tavern.

Whatever the reason, I felt ready for this next chapter and the opportunity to be the kind of editor I want to be for this newspaper and the community we serve.

So what does this mean exactly? For one thing, I’ve replaced the bowl of candy on my desk with bacon bits. It also means, in addition to my weekly humor column, I’ll also write editorials. For those of you who have been following me for a while, you know I do have a serious side. This will allow me to express that a little more. I broke the news to our readers in my first editorial on Sept. 14…


As much fun as I make about being a journalist here all these years, I owe this newspaper and community a lot. They are served as both my roots and wings as a writer and a person. I’m truly excited about the opportunity to give something back while, at the same time, moving forward in my life and career.

I have every intention of continuing as a humor columnist (For those of you visiting this blog for the first time, I promise it gets funnier), a blogger and writer. Hell, my new book just came out! *blink blink* I just ask for your patience during this transition as I find my new equalibriem.

Oh, and getting used to the fact that I can’t complain about my editor anymore…





Ned Hickson is a nationally syndicated humor columnist with News Media Corporation and the editor of Siuslaw News. He is also the author of Humor at the Speed of Life, a collection of more than a decade of humor columns; and Pearls of Writing Wisdom: From 16 shucking years as a columnist, a writer’s survival guide. Both are available from Port Hole Publishing.







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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

79 thoughts on “Returning to normalcy (but consider the source)”

    1. Thanks, Sue! It was hard letting the blog go for a few weeks, but necessary to get things settled here. I have to say, turning 50 has started out pretty great 😉

  1. Glad to see Iron Man is still keeping an eye on you. Talk about perfect storm! And you’re rocking it! I’ve been noticing on social media that people are buying copies of your book that have been signed. How can I purchase a signed copy?

    Thought of you and your newspaper last week, as my son and I visited Seaside for the first time. For a few minutes I considered driving down to your neck of the woods, until I looked at a map and realized you’re practically in California. We made it as far south as Cannon Beach. (Got my bucket list photo of Haystack Rock).

    1. No way was I leaving Ironman behind! As for the book, you can click on the book icon in the sidebar and it will take you to the publisher’s website. In the “request” window, you can tell them how you’d like it signed. The they get a copy to me before it ships out.
      By the way, I used to work in Cannon Beach as a restaurant consultant for Steven Martin Management Company (Surfsand hotel, The Local Scoop, Stephanie Inn, etc.) Beautiful spot. It’s about 3/12 hours from Florence (We’re directly in the middle of the coast). Next time I’ll meet you half way! 😉

      1. Thanks for the book order info. It was our first time to the coast here in WA (embarrassing, since we’ve lived here for 17 years). And it most definitely will not be the last. It was so beautiful!!

        1. I have to say, if I ever owned a second house somewhere, it would be in Seattle. I’m not particularly fond of big cities, but there is just something about Seattle that sticks with me. So much history and uniqueness, plus the Sound and islands. So whether it’s here on the Oregon coast or there in Seattle, I’m sure our paths will cross at some point!

  2. Wahoooo! Congrats, Ned! (or…ahem…Mr. Editor, sir) You’ve certainly earned all of your success. 50 is the new 30, right? Or the new 40? Please tell me it’s at least the new 45…

  3. Maybe you won’t be able to complain about your editor, but I’m sure you can still complain about your publisher.
    Congratulations on everything! As they say, 49 is the new 50 and humor columnist is the new editor. 🙂

  4. Well, well. The perfect storm, indeed! Congratulations on the new desk. 😀

    You do realise that this means it’s going to be very hard to convince the editor that you are on an important assignment… no, wait… easier to convince the editor that you are on an important assignment. He will find out eventually, though… 🙂

  5. Congratulations!!!! (again) 😉 I’m really proud for you.
    I’ve heard people say “Normal” is a relative term. I always say.. “Not MY relatives!” ha ha ha ha!! But seriously, I hope you are just as successful, if not more so, than you were as a columnist! I’m glad you will still be with us! and don’t be “normal” that’s sooo boring!! 😛

      1. Uhm… and what “abnormality” would that be??? Nevermind, I don’t think I want to know. Just forget I asked!! I really don’t care! I mean really, it’s not important! 😛

  6. Congrats on the new position, new office and everything else that’s happened to you the last three weeks. I have one question, though…bacon bits? I think I missed the analogy or you’re hamming it up again. Are they chocolate covered?

  7. Congratulations! PS, you can still complain about the editor, just do it behind his back and remember, none of us will ever tell! Great news for a great guy! Cheers, not with alcohol, but with bacon bits for sure!

  8. It’s nice to see that the promotion has added to your maturity.

    Honestly, I am glad to see you back in blogland. You dropping off of the blog map is one of those impossible occurences, like the Cubs winning the World Series… oh no… crap….

  9. Great post Ned.

    Maybe it was because we held the meeting at our local tavern. <<< Love this line!

    Yeah, turning 50 does change things a little, and I'm happy to see it's changing for the better for you. You're going to be an amazing editor. I have no doubt!


  10. as long as you have your indiana jones and bacon bits nearby, you are good to go. feel free to still complain about the editor and we’ll be happy to jump on the bandwagon –

  11. Congratulations again Ned. And belated happy birthday to you! Yes, I missed you. I had to check my reader and see if Weirdpress had stopped sending me notifications. Glad to know that you’ve still got the bacon bits at hand. And love your award display! 🙂

  12. Ah, the death rattle of literature… I mean, wow! Another book, Ned! That’s great.

    I’ve added a widget with your new book to my blog (for whatever that’s worth).


    1. Hahaha! I think it’s like aging. When you’re in your 20s, 40 seems old. When you’re 40, 50 seems old. When you’re a writer, being an editor… Yeah, it just seems old.

      Anyway, didn’t Bill Hailey and the Comets sing that song? “…C’mon Death, Rattle and Roll…”

      And thanks for the widget, Calahan. I truly appreciate that 😉

  13. A-ha! I was wondering where you’d been. Congratulations on your promotion, Ned! That’s great! You know, now that you’re the boss, you don’t have to replace the candy with bacon bits. I mean, there really is no limit. You can have chocolate-coated bacon bits for all anybody can do to stop you.

  14. Congrats Ned! That’s a lot of good to take in all at once. I know you can handle it. Just stop every so often for a piece of bacon and it will all be good.

  15. Congratulations and YEE HAW! Happy Birthday, too!

    This is why I admire you as a writer and as a friend – you take your new duties and accolades with grace and humility (whimsy and feng shui, too!) I am thoroughly enjoying your book, too.

    Your story is one that gives me hope – I just recently pitched our local paper…just to see what would happen. Still waiting to see if anything will happen, but I’m totally good living vicariously through you until it’s my time.

    And the member chairperson duties – awesome! I think I joined that group. I should probably really know, right??

    Sincerely – best wishes on your new adventures! You rock, Ned!

    1. Thank you SO much, Michelle! Especially for referring to me having “grace,” which is something I am rarely associated with. At least physically. I’ll keep good thoughts about your newspaper pitch. They’d be lucky to have you! I know you’d develop your own following in the paper, and not just fruitcake lovers.

      As for the NSNC, my big task is membership recruitment. So if you aren’t a member, you may find me on your front porch when you get home…

      1. I would welcome your smiling face on my front porch. Just don’t hide and jump out from behind the big pumpkins… I’m not getting any younger and a startle like that might stop my heart.
        *note to self: check membership status 🙂

  16. Congratulations on all of the accomplishments, not the least of which is turning 50. Good job. Now open the blinds in that new office! Unless it simply looks out into more office…

  17. Well, you could complain about your new editor… but be careful not to do it while sitting at his desk, and especially out loud. Congratulations Ned on being well-hung! Oh, and um, on your newest journey.

  18. What a whirlwind. You have the stamina of a 20-year-old.
    Finally ordered your book. I think. It involved PayPal, currency rates, American postal addresses and for some reason a large bowl of Skittles. Looking forward to getting my copy. Hopefully.

    1. “That’s what she said.”
      About involving PayPal, I mean…

      And thanks, Ross. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I’ve been enjoying yours. By the way, I’ll make sure I ask my publisher to let me sign it before it goes out… can I call you “Skittles?”

  19. Congratulations. I’m sure you’ve watched ‘Citizen Kane,” “All The President’s Men,””The Front Page,” etc. ten times to get in the vibe and have picked up an evil squint and some cigars — just don’t stub them out in the bacon bits.

No one is watching, I swear...

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