By Chuck Woodbury
It’s 4:40 p.m., Friday, June 23, 2017, and I am 99.9 percent done with this weekend’s newsletter, issue 799. The photo is of my desk. I just snapped it. The desk is in the back driver’s side corner of my 32-foot motorhome. It folds down when we travel. It’s about two times the size of a TV tray. But it works. And, as you can see, it’s a mess.
FOR ABOUT TWO DAYS NOW, with breaks from writing for a walk around a nearby pond and a trip to Costco to stock up on grub, I have sat at this desk and slung words, most of which will appear in tomorrow’s newsletter. Meanwhile, across the USA, more than a dozen writers have sat at their own desks, doing the same. Two are in the Bay Area, one in New York City, one in Ohio, one in North Carolina, another in Maryland, and the hardest-working RV journalists in America, Russ and Tiña De Maris in Quartzsite, Arizona.
Three more are in whereabouts unknown — full-timers who drift from place to place. And five of us are in the Seattle area. I’m here for another three weeks before heading off with my sweetheart Gail toward the East Coast in our rolling, motorized Winnebago RV, which I call a “mobile home” because it’s where I live and it moves when I push the gas pedal.
It’s a big job putting this newsletter together, but every week all of us who contribute do it like clockwork. Next issue will be number 800, which seems crazy to me: Where did those 17 years go? I started it as a semi-old young man and am now a semi-young old man. I think we may have missed one deadline through the years. As I recall, it was because our server was throwing a tantrum.
I do not know what I would do without the weekly deadline. Some weeks I wish I didn’t have to write, with the pressure to be interesting. I’d say that three-quarters of the time I am happy with what I write. But sometimes I am uninspired and it shows and I don’t feel very proud.
BUT I KNOW ONE THING: I am addicted to publishing this newsletter. I am addicted to waking up Saturday morning to read your emails. I recognize hundreds of readers these days, some of whom have been following me even before RV Travel, when I published my quarterly “on-the-road” newspaper Out West.
I am always pooped about this time of week, brain dead from hour upon hour at the keyboard (like now), but I am almost always happy, too, especially when an issue is really good. Diane McGovern, who is the managing editor, is amazing. She holds everything together, and jumps on any of us who get behind or out of line in some way. She keeps me out of trouble when I use the wrong word or make a really stupid typo.
I am very proud of all the people who work on this newsletter. They all love playing their part. I pay the ones that do the most work or can use the money. I was paid a pittance when I wrote for magazines when I was a struggling freelance writer. So I do my best to not take advantage of our writers, even though this is a pretty low-budget operation. Some of our contributors write for free because they are already set financially and they love to write about their particular interests.
Gail is out shopping right now, but when she returns we will observe our Friday evening “the newsletter is finished” celebration, by drinking a little wine, which always makes us chatty so we end up gabbing for awhile. Tonight we will sit outside and enjoy the gorgeous evening. I always say that I am a lucky guy, but my friends tell me that I worked hard for what I have achieved and my charmed life is due to that, more than luck. Okay, fine, but I still say I’m lucky.
Thanks for reading. Without you, I’d be writing to a wall, which is no fun unless you are especially fond of walls and believe they can hear you.
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