On the third day of Christmas: Pen in Hand

Dog on top of Christmas tree
Illustration by Karen Sandstrom

Karen Sandstrom blogs at Pen in Hand. I love her drawings, her little stories, her commentary, and her wry sense of humor. She’s a writer, journalist and illustrator who lives in Cleveland, my hometown.

Karen created something called “I Must Remember This,” about the daily habit of creativity, which is posted in my home office and gets me back on the writing track when I need it.

Visit her website and take a look at the woman standing in the rowboat clutching a book – I love that picture.

Here are a few of my favorite Pen in Hand posts:

Cut Flowers

I like “Cut Flowers” because I grew up in a flower shop and because I also love Molly Peacock’s book, The Paper Garden. Now I don’t have to write about the book on Books Can Save a Life, I’ll just link to Karen’s fascinating and informed post.

The Geography of Memory

This one’s about a Cleveland suburb on Lake Erie that I visit from time to time.

An Artist’s Stool

I like “An Artist’s Stool” because I will always remember listening to jazz in the Flats on the Cuyahoga River when I was in high school. Yes, that’s the river that caught fire.

Gimme Some of Dat Bitter, Bitter Love

This one, because I belong to that tribe, too.

Losing our newspapers is not a good thing

I visited my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio this weekend. On Sunday,  The Plain Dealer printed artist and critic Karen Sandstrom’s creative work ethic, “I Must Remember This.”

Enchanted, I happily discovered Karen and her blog, Pen in Hand, as well.

Even better, Karen succinctly and eloquently sang the praises of The Plain Dealer, daily newspapers, and printed newspapers.

I’m all for electronic media and the creative flourishing and publishing opportunities now open to more people.

But Karen reminds us not to forget our daily newspapers and their talented, hardworking staffs. They are doing important work.

Some daily newspapers have disappeared, with more to go, I’m sure.

Journalism is changing like everything else, but we still need unbiased investigative reporting, long-form news and analysis, depth and breadth of content, and media everyone is comfortable with. (I believe a significant number of readers still prefer their news in print, and have not found or would not know how to go about finding comparable news online).

Most important, we need engaged readers and citizens who care and understand what vibrant journalism means to a healthy democracy.

If we let our daily newspapers go, we damn well better make sure we know what we are doing.

Bay Village view of Lake Erie
Bay Village view of Lake Erie at sunset. To the east, the Cleveland skyline glittered and fireworks blossomed over Lakewood.

(Full disclosure: a member of my family works for The Plain Dealer.)

What do you think? Please comment!