Five years of TCB: Show (don’t tell)

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brian

I laughed a little when I got fired on Election Day in 2013. I put my keys on the desk, pulled my chin-up bar from the doorframe and left everything else behind. A month later, recruiting investors and navigating a few other interesting offers, I got so overwhelmed and depressed I spent an entire day in bed staring at the ceiling.

I would stare at that same spot on the ceiling many times in the months and years to come, on nights when I knew I wouldn’t be able to make payroll the next day, late afternoons when I’d collapse into bed with no more to give, those wee hours of the morning when both nothing and anything seemed possible.

All the cold mornings putting papers on the streets. All the late nights and weekends, writing, selling, plotting.

The fear.

The losses.

And then, once in a while, the wins.

A beautiful, painted sunrise on the delivery route. An enterprise story that breaks something wide open. An email from a reader. A call from a reader. A shout from a reader in a moving car.

Trump.

I became a publisher all at once on a sunny, late-summer afternoon while driving east on Business 40, after closing my first five-figure sale. My heart hadn’t raced like that since the first time I saw my byline in a real newspaper when I was 24 years old.

In 2016, we found out about our first national award — Second Place for Jordan Green’s political writing — in a ramen joint in Austin, and the release nearly brought us all to tears.

The Last Bad Day. The First Good Year.

Empty desks. New faces. The newspaper covers going up on the wall, one by one. A hundred. Two hundred.

Again. And again. And again.

And still there’s room for more.

Right now it’s the same as always: The night before production, there’s Jordan and there’s me in the newsroom, typing, talking, typing. Outside on South-Elm Eugene Street, the sun goes down and the lights come on. We won’t go home until we’re done.