Thank you for everyone who has read, shared stories, and supported The Marshfield Maiden online newspaper. This was a community project that I'd picked at over the last couple years, and something I've held very dear to my heart.
I love looking for stories in simple things; and I believe community, nature, and art are the pillars of society. I also believe farming, even at its most primitive of operations, is a backbone to human life. Farming not only gives us resources to live, it teaches responsibility, love, the value of hard work, and gives rise to culture.
The Marshfield Maiden was entirely volunteer, not-for-profit, and inconsistent, as this was a hobby. When my mental health fell ill, so did my productivity as a writer. When I do something, I like to do it to the best of my ability - which includes consistency.
Admittedly, it was also a bit difficult seeing other professional news outlets making a living off some of the same caliber work. Of course, I did this as an inconsistent hobby, and for fun. PEI is small, and there is only so much local news; so, it only makes sense we're all writing about the same things. But, when your random, unique ideas show up re-written in other places, it does suck. I'm honestly not tough enough for that (haha). As an artist, it hurts.
During a somewhat emotional telephone call, after some locals had called out another larger media outlet for hijacking one of my ideas/stories, the producer had told me point blank, "Tanya you have entered a hard field. Whether it's a hobby, or as a professional, you learn very quickly, that these aren't YOUR stories. You don't own the stories. These are the people's stories." And they were right. As much fun as it was for me to go around interviewing farmers, artists, small business, etc. these weren't my stories. These were their stories. And I loved telling them. And just like other artists, writers borrow from each other.
It is a privilege to have another share their story with you, and have them trust you with telling it. I love the sense of community, and partnership, in small-town story sharing. And, because I respect that these are the "community's" stories, I don't want to be bitter in thinking I "own" a story. Stories are meant to be shared. That's the whole reason why I did this little online newspaper.
And so, it is with a slightly heavy, but humble heart that I am saying farewell to The Marshfield Maiden. It was fun! I think I'll focus the spare time I do have to work on my fiction again; perhaps another book or short fiction collection.
As an artistic person who struggles with highs and lows, there's always that need to create. Writing bleeds out of me. In some ways, telling stories is all I know.
If there is one thing that anyone remembers from the Marshfield Maiden online newspaper, I do hope it is this: Look for the stories. Listen to the stories. Embrace the moments. For moments are stories. Observe nature. Learn about local wildlife. Try to connect with art. Try to find some understanding of rural culture, farming, and the people around you.
I'll leave you with a short, and pretty terrible/no budget film (haha I did my best) that I'd made this past fall. Video Here - I think it has the essence that I've always wanted people to take from The Marshfield Maiden.