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Cloverdale Comments - November 2016


Cloverdale Comments - November 2016

by Carol Russell

“My favorite thought about Abraham Lincoln is he believed two things: loving one another and working together to this world better. — Mario Cuomo

We’ve been friends since 2003. Carol and her spouse, Roz, had been in town about two months when they went to an Oktoberfest where Reece, as a member of the Sonoma County Human Rights Commission, was tabling. Over the years, common ideas and perspectives quickly brought us together even as we each found ways to contribute to our community’s growth and success via different paths. Both of us love Cloverdale and the people who live and work here. We also very much enjoy collaborating with each other as well as with others. We hope working together to makes Cloverdale, and by extension the County, 22 better.

Seven years ago Carol began writing “Cloverdale Comments”. Along the way, she asked Reece to look it over and edit at will. She asked again the next month. And, the month after that. Soon it became a monthly routine. About a year ago, a formal collaboration was established. Now, you get two of us!

Writing this month’s column has presented several complications tangled together at exactly the wrong moment. Carol’s kitchen sprung a mega bucks water leak resulting in taps off until the plumbers can wade in. Between government duties and staying in a motel, her life is a jumble. Reece has been totally engrossed in the “Support Our Libraries” Measure Y campaign – putting up signs all around the county, tabling, arranging neighborhood walks, writing articles and support letters, and much more. Add a holiday deadline, plus potential interviewees’ conflicting schedules and writing this month’s column soon became a muddled quandary!

What could we write about that might interest you, Dear Reader? US, of course, and our collaboration! 

The holiday season underscores the column as the publisher’s and your special gift to us in allowing us to tell you about our Cloverdale neighbors and friends while, along the way, we’re given the chance to get to know them better ourselves. In turn, we hope they and you will think of “Cloverdale Comments” as our gift. We hope getting to know our people, how our city works, what everyone can find here, and helping to link up Cloverdale and our County makes our world a little better. If it does, we’re very thankful.

Two apparently very different people who actually share many commonalities, including our commitment to working for our community, we acknowledge our dissimilarities: Reece is endearingly quixotic, while Carol is amusingly pragmatic. (At least, we like to think so.)

Here’s what we have learned about collaboration. It is both challenging and satisfying. We hash out potential topics. Sometimes we determine a series; other times we focus on a single topic. Sometimes we wax philosophical; at other times the subject is very concrete. The process can involve one to a half dozen interviews. We share any needed additional research. And, like most other creative brains, a short “gestation period” follows (otherwise known as getting together over tea with sugary snacks). Often, with our widely, varied experiences in life, one of us has touched the topic in some way, adding a personal feel and color to the general layout. An hour or two later, with the outline established, we come up for air (and another snack). 

Sometimes, we just hash out our first draft together. At other times, we separate with Reece writing the first draft. This plays to our strengths, since Reece is a good foundation builder, while Carol adds sparkle. Soon, there’s a second draft with one or both of us adding, changing and, more often than not, condensing it all (and having another snack). 

We often come from entirely different perspectives to the same point of view or occasionally different viewpoints that must be harmonized into a column. While collaboration shapes the process, our love and respect of this process and our community are what drive us to our final column.

In the give and take of the collaborative process, friendship can be sorely tried so trust becomes the major key to avoiding disharmony. We have learned a lot through collaboration. Above all, that done right it builds friendship. 

And friendship always makes the world better.