With articles in the Suburban Times, the articles are an open door for discussion . . . with a simple “comment” they become social media. If you read a article in the Seattle Times or The News Tribune, all you get is the story, although some readers react with a letter to the editor, it’s not immediate as it is with social media.
My article on October, 3 2018 was about a small patch of wild flowers growing inches away from our door step. My wife loves flowers and searched through a Audubon wild flower book until she found what she guessed was the correct name of the flower. The day the article was published a comment came from a couple who knew their flowers. They not only suggested what the patch was, but how to find the seed pods and plant them to spread the beauty of the tiny plant. We were grateful, and will plant the seeds for lovely flowers next fall.
I shared a short article a week ago about making myself a lunch with pork sausages purchased at the local Dollar Tree store. There were five comments ranging from recipes, to shopping at Dollar Tree for containers for a varnishing business. Each comment usually ends up with a reply as well, so this simple article, with five reader comments turned into a story and ten comments.
Quite often we “staff” writers from the Suburban Times comment about articles from each other’s typewriters. I know, I know, you all probably think we gather each afternoon drinking, carousing, and swapping “in jokes” and lies about attending our latest Pacific Northwest celebrity parties . . . well, that part’s true . . . but we do occasionally read articles that we didn’t write for the Suburban Times. Fellow writer comments arising from those articles themselves can be interesting, but mostly, the comments from readers really strike home.
Sometimes articles get serious and grow into heated discussions. Two that spring to mind were my article on circumcision, which ended up with about three dozen comments from as far away as Australia (thesubtimes.com/2018/04/02/male-circumcision-yes-or-no/), and the second was an article about a public rally concerning the new immigration policy of separating children from parents as a deterrent to immigration at Peoples Park in Tacoma, which had almost as many comments (thesubtimes.com/2018/07/06/families-belong-together-pierce-county-rally/).
Although, the focus of most articles in the Suburban Times is our local area, the subjects can be universal . . . and the responses illustrate that as well. My friend, world trekker Dick Dorsett traveled to Nova Scotia last fall and I wrote about his trip. It brought a comment from Doug Kershaw, the fabulous Cajun fiddle player who lives in Louisiana. Dick’s next trip took him to Southeast Asia and delivered a response from a Stanford professor. Early in 2018 I wrote about cutting the cord and changing from cable to streaming movies and TV shows. I mentioned numerous bad movies, but also mentioned one of my absolute favorites movies called Saint Ralph. It’s a Canadian coming of age film about setting goals and working to achieve them. I also remarked about the music from the Canadian film. I received a comment from Adam Butcher who included a link to the cover song, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Adam Butcher was the young actor who played Ralph and who has gone on to star in other films as well. (thesubtimes.com/2018/02/25/really-bad-movies-but-the-price-is-right/)
If you read an article early on, you might consider reading it again the next day or so. Although the article doesn’t change, it sometimes becomes a package deal, which gives even a simple story about making lunch much more depth.