I laid in a truckload of wood for the winter a couple weeks ago, had it piled by the front door for easy access on cold nights.

A store of fuel gives a man like me a certain sense of satisfaction this time of year, a kind of insurance against the coming winter and an answer to its challenge.

I’m no fan of November and its brutal reminder of the impending, inevitable freeze, but it’s an important month, the lynchpin in a season of change. And I’ve learned that by the time November comes, I had best have a plan.

It was just three Novembers ago that I lost my job of nine years; had I not been prepared for it, neither this column nor this newspaper would exist. Five Novembers ago I needed to stop drinking, and somehow through the preceding years I had put enough of a support system in place to make that possible.

So far, so good.

This November brings with it a note of satisfaction in our professional endeavor — Triad City Beat is nearing the end of its third fiscal year on solid footing, a fact that amazes me even as I type it. And even more so than usual I feel an overwhelming gratitude for the foundation that has grown to support the castle we built in the sky so long ago.

I’m a different person than I was when I took a chance on a crazy idea and somehow convinced my friends to go along with it. We all are. And the paper is changing, too.

We’re adding more voices to our pages — our new columnists Jelisa Castrodale and Kat Bodrie are part of that push, and you’ll see more new bylines in our cover stories and cultural coverage in the coming months as well.[pullquote]I’ve learned that by the time November comes, I had best have a plan.[/pullquote]

For our advertisers, we’ve added new digital products and access to deep mines of data powered by technology that didn’t exist when we started this thing.

And we’ve got plenty of big stories, important projects and a few more surprises in the works.

Because by November, the woodpile needs to be full enough to keep the fire going.

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