It’s been a wonderful four years here in Bradenton

Bradenton Herald – Have you ever had one of those “It’s A Wonderful Life” moments, but in reverse? A moment when you wonder how life would be if you’d never had someone, something or some place in your life?

I can’t imagine my life without Bradenton in it. Without an area filled by art and culture as far as the eye can see. Without the people who’ve made what was once an unfamiliar dot on a map feel like home to me.

After nearly four years here, it’s time for me to move on to another unfamiliar place. My apartment’s nearly packed, I’ve said most of my farewells and yet I still feel like I haven’t mastered the art of goodbye.

Do we ever really?

My next destination: Atlanta, Ga., where I’ll be attending school — something I thought I’d never do again. There, I’ll be pursuing a second love I’ve kept dormant during my eight years as a journalist — creative advertising.

When I start school, I will carry plenty of Bradenton experiences that have shaped me as the writer and person I am today. You see, when I moved here in December 2006 freshly hired as the Herald’s new theater writer, I didn’t know anyone here. It was my first big move away from home — away from the family and friends I left behind in Savannah, Ga. The job attracted me to the area, but I didn’t know all of the artistic delights I’d be in store for — spanning from Sarasota to Tampa. I’ve been amazed at the high caliber of talent here in the form of writers, directors, set designers, actors (professional, volunteers and the ultra famous), musicians, dancers, visual artists and so much more outside of the artistic realm. To see that kind of talent week after week from people who are truly passionate about their craft — come good economic times or bad — has been inspiring.

It’s made me want to take my creativity into a new direction.

Leaving everything I know behind, though, can be a little scary. I am reminded of an interview I did with an up-and-coming local “retro” painter a few months back who told me he sold his successful fishing supply business in Sarasota to become a full-time artist — a move he and his wife made despite the bad economy. But then he said this: “When you step out in faith, a net will appear.” That’s always stuck with me as a reminder of God’s providential hand and how we can easily miss certain blessings if we let fear hold us back.

So I look at the future hopeful, excited and blessed that I had the opportunity to spend a few years here with you covering the art and entertainment scene. I will miss you all.

I’ll be passing the arts and entertainment baton to Wade Tatangelo, who is returning to the Herald after four years. He served as the paper’s music writer. Wade is excited to be on staff again and ready to reacquaint himself with many of you.

Please welcome him when he returns Oct. 4. You can reach him at 745-7057 and a wtatangelo@bradenton.com.

Though Friday was my last day at the Herald, you’ll still see my byline in the paper for a few more weeks.

So I’ll be back to visit soon, so to speak, in print.

published Sept. 19, 2010

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