BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
A decade, that’s how long it’s been…
Before I go on, let me give you fair warning. This is going to be one of those sappy, somewhat trite, self-centered, and ultimately, possibly the most boring piece I’ve ever written.
A decade ago, I started writing regularly for Asbarez, and The Armenian Weekly started doing me the same honor of publishing my writings.
A decade has translated into 480 articles (yes, yes, for all you math whizzes out there, that means a few weeks were missed here and there—sometimes the print versions of the paper did not come out, other issues had no space, but mostly, I just plain didn’t make it to write a piece—my apologies). I find it a bit hard to believe. Altogether, they constitute something that, by word count, is worthy of our 19th century novelists who were paid by the word.
But gratitude is not due only to the editors (five of them, if I’m not mistaken, between the two papers), nor the organization that enables their publication. I owe a lot of gratitude to the dozens of people I’ve called at the last minute asking for confirmation of some fact or analysis, some Armenian mythological figure’s name that I just can’t manage to remember at that moment as the deadline is creeping up and my editor is ready to tear me to shreds. This applies despite the wonders of Google and its ilk. I would have been lost when it comes to issues that are rooted in economics or some other modern-day arcana, but for the expertise of people who do know fact from frivolity on the “interwebs” as one of my frequent helpers likes to call that all-pervasive source of fact/fiction.
Then there are those who suggest topics, or little issues that get embedded somewhere in my brain and burst forth when it’s their time. These ideas have gotten me out of the occasional black hole when no topics come to me (though sometimes I get five in my head and have to choose just one.
What would I do without the critics and commenters? Whether online, in person, or raising holy hell with the editors about the “absolute impropriety” of something I’ve written, such readers enable me to refine my thinking or discover new modes of thought (not necessarily always good or correct ones). I only wish more people would comment, especially since it’s so easy to do online. When this has happened extensively, fascinating (though often far astray from the original topic of the article) exchanges occur, enriching all of us. Even when some of the protagonists are the most chauvinist of Turks, we all benefit.
Of course it’s most humbling when some think enough of one of my pieces to reference it or recommend it to friends (be it through Facebook, other social media, or the more traditional word of mouth), republish in some other forum, or go through the trouble to translate it into Armenian.
Thank you for enabling the last ten years. I can only hope to continue to be as consistently prolific as some other columnists currently on the Armenian scene.
Let’s go for another activist ten years. Keep doing, reading, and writing on the road to a fully liberated Armenian homeland.