Full Circle: May the Circle Be Unbroken

My dad was a bluegrass guitar picker and one of the tunes that I remember him strumming quite frequently was “Will the Circle be Unbroken?”—a classic song first recorded in 1935 by the Carter Family and later remastered by my generation’s Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. I’m not sure I ever knew the meaning of the lyrics, but they were haunting and sad, yet hopeful that a new day was around the corner.

As I write my final Full Circle column for Lake & Sumter Style magazine, I am sad to be letting go of one of the best assignments I’ve ever had in my writing career. But I am hopeful and optimistic as I embark on a new career as a writer for AARP Florida.

Exactly four years ago this month, I accepted the challenge to become a magazine columnist. Most journalists only get to dream about being a columnist and writing about whatever strikes their fancy. My first Full Circle became a reality with the January 2007 issue. I was off and running, tackling topics that were often personal, hopefully thought-provoking, occasionally humorous, and always written from my heart.

If you read that first column, you’ll remember that I called it Full Circle because I’d returned to a journalism career after many years in the public relations field. I also mentioned America’s top essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said that life is a self-evolving circle that connects us to new and larger circles without end. I still believe that, too.

You will still find me writing, only in different circles. You may not always see my byline, but hopefully you’ll recognize my “style” and silently wonder if the ghostwriter could be that woman who used to write about a circle or something like that. And don’t fret, you’ll still see my name from time to time in Ocala Style.

I cannot sign off without saying thank you to the folks who made my words better, including publisher Kathy Johnson who always believed in me and let me have full rein to write about anything I wanted. Former editor Dean Blinkhorn challenged me to not be a fence sitter when it came to writing about issues in the news. He also wouldn’t let me give up whenever a severe case of writer’s block came my way. Current editors Kristina Kolesa and Karin Fabry-Cushenbery are inspirational young women who are proving that the next generation is indeed ready to lead. I have learned as much from them as I hope they have from me. Writing is only one small aspect of a publication. An entire team of editors, graphic designers, advertising account executives, and production managers represents an unending circle of talents required to produce a magazine. I feel fortunate that I’ve worked with one of the best teams in the business.

And finally, I want to thank readers who have called or written to tell me they’ve enjoyed my columns. Hearing from you always made my day and certainly got me through some of those episodes of writer’s block. I even appreciated hearing from readers who didn’t always agree with me. I was glad that they felt moved enough to voice their opinions.

Full Circle opened the door to new friendships and to new opportunities, and for that, I will always be grateful. And I can hope that our circles will occasionally overlap and remain unbroken.

Gratefully yours,

Mary Ann

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