I’ve been asked to resurrect Horizons, the column that went dormant last year after Krista Winter left for college.

I’ve been sitting in the Free Press office all day, paging through Krista’s old columns, and now I’m sitting here trying to decide what to write. Trying to figure out how to differentiate my column from what’s gone before, not just from Krista but from others’ columns as well.

Inspiration is a funny thing. When it comes, there’s often no stopping it, proving that the old adage, “When it rains, it pours” has more truth to it then one might realize. But-as with most writers-when I’m in the midst of a dry spell, there’s not a rain cloud in sight.

Being that today finds me in one of these, this month’s column might very well take a stream-of-consciousness format, which I’ll apologize for in advance.

My English teacher told me last year that when composing essays of any kind-or in this case, a column-it was important and necessary to maintain focus. Somehow I suspect I’m not doing a very good job of it.

As I write this, Hillsboro High students are back in class, something that seems really, really foreign to me.

I have another semester at Centre in Lost Springs, which I am not at all looking forward to. I know many students my age are looking forward to the challenges and social aspects of school, but honestly, I just wish I could keep sleeping until noon.

Which might’ve been why I was unemployed for most of the summer. After leaving the Marion Pizza Hut, where I’d worked for two years in April, I went through yet another dry spell-not solely inspiration this time, but also in matters of cash flow.

I worked at Judy Harder’s Summer Drama Camp in Hillsboro for two weeks in June. (You might remember me as the guy with the puppet in the lobby pre-show.)

That was until I recently got a job at a grocery store, then landed this job with the Free Press. Despite what you may read in another local newspaper, the Free Press isn’t desperate for help, so I consider it a privilege to be hired.

When it rains, it pours.

I just took a break from writing this column to go look through the archives once again, this time discovered the editorial from Sept. 23, 1998, issue. The writer talks about the reasons for launching Horizons.

I’m well aware that most of our recipients probably don’t have every issue bound together like we do here, so I’ll reiterate them:

1. To hive a voice to a younger generation.

2. To encourage writing.

3. To repay an old debt.

I still have doubts as to whether I’m really the one the Free Press wants to represent the younger generation. It’s hit me as I sit here writing this what a truly daunting responsibility that is.

I once read an interview where the subject stated that he wished more people understood the responsibility of writing, that every time you put pen to paper you ran the risk of turning someone on, turning someone off, and influencing people’s lives in ways you might never realize.

I believe this the same way I’ve believed in the power of the printed word all my life. I grew up reading books and magazines and writing stories. Working at the Free Press has given me the opportunity to explore new formats I’ve never had the opportunity to previously tackle: journalistic style, interview transcription, and a column that I’m now sweating blood to finish.

Through this column, the responsibility the interviewee spoke of, has been bestowed on me, and it’s not one I intend to take lightly.

Whether the editor knows it or not, writing this column is also helping me repay many of my own debts -more specifically, it will when I receive my paycheck at the end of the month.

But in turn, it also makes me indebted to him, and to the rest of the staff at the Free Press for giving me this opportunity.

I don’t know how long I’ll be writing Horizons, given that I’ll be graduating and possibly leaving the area in January. But I can say that for as long as I write it, the responsibilities given to every writer, including me, will always remain first and foremost in my mind.

Even if the rest of it is somewhat cluttered.

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