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Year One

Year One

Happy anniversary to us!

I was about to scribble Happy FIRST anniversary until something nipped at my brain, telling me that the AP Stylebook frowns upon that.

Oh look. I was right:

Avoid using the terms “first anniversary,” “one-year anniversary” and “first annual” altogether.

Correct: The company will be celebrating its anniversary this spring.

Incorrect: The company will be celebrating its first anniversary this spring.

Correct: The company will be hosting its annual retreat in August.

Incorrect: The company will be hosting its first annual retreat in August.

By referring to the occasion as, “the anniversary” or “the annual retreat” you lose the repetitiveness. After the first year of the event has passed, it’s perfectly fine to identify which anniversary or annual event year it is (i.e., third annual, 10-year anniversary).

Of course, I’m no longer a slave to the irrational AP stylebook, which - last time I checked - insisted that french fries be spelled with lower case letters while Russian dressing was uppercased. That newspaper bible also bans the word donut, demanding that writers add that useless “ugh”.

Ugh is right.

Enough about the AP Stylebook. Where was I?

Right, it’s my - or rather our - anniversary. On Dec. 1, 2017, I left The Virginian-Pilot after 34 years. Three days later we launched kerrydougherty.com “Unemployed and Unedited.”  

At first we toyed with changing the title regularly, depending on content. For instance, one day it might be “Unemployed and Unkempt” the next, “Unemployed and Unconcerned, ” or “Unemployed and Unbalanced.”

Too much work. Decided against it.

One thing I did pledge: That I’d have fresh content on the website every single weekday. And, as desperate as some entries have been, I kept that promise.

That first week of December 2017 was, well, interesting. I had an introductory post. And a few others planned and outlined. But three days in I got a phone call from the ski patrol in Deer Valley telling me my son had been in a serious ski accident and was being airlifted to the trauma center at the University of Utah.

A few hours later I was on a Southwest flight to Salt Lake City, so stressed I couldn’t concentrate to read or watch an in-flight movie.

I did, however, remember to toss my iPad in my hastily packed bag and for the next few days I sent dispatches from my son’s hospital room and later from a Holiday Inn where we stayed until he was ready to go back to work at the ski resort.

What I learned that week was that I should embrace the unexpected and continue to do the only thing I know how to do: 


Notice that I use “we” and “us” when talking about the website. That’s because this is a team effort. I couldn’t do it alone. Wouldn’t want to try. I need my squad. They’re zany, brainy and unflappable.


There’s Krys. 

One of my closest pals and book club buddies. The best editor ever. You didn’t think this was completely unedited did you?

She’s a former newspaperwoman, former English teacher, lifelong gardener (she was wrestling with boxwood blight yesterday, but still had time to answer a pesky grammar question), world traveler and someone who never seems to mind reading my raw copy even if it’s long after the rest of Virginia has turned off the lights and gone to bed.

Shoot, she even edits my copy from GERMANY where she spends part of the year. 

Do you have a friend like that? 

On top of that, Krys is funny and captivated by language.

Without Krys, my copy would be a festival of misplaced commas, a tsunami of typos and an avalanche of awkward phrases.

Impossible to express my gratitude to this talented and generous lady.


Then there’s Carlie.

My site manager. She’s brilliant, clever and creative. 

And a little bit crazy. In the best way possible.

She’s been extraordinarily patient as I texted her at all hours asking questions that did little but reveal my ignorance of how websites work. 

Carlie jumped right in when I told her I wanted to launch this project. She asked about sites I liked and ones I didn’t like before designing clean, easy to navigate pages for you and me. 

Best of all, she believed in this project and cheered me on from New Orleans.

Oh, she’s also a terrific tour guide. Carlie took my college friends and me on a locals’ tour of NoLa last April. We rode the streetcars, she pedaled alongside on her bike. What a woman!


Finally, there’s Bryn. 

My daughter, my partner. The mother of my 3-year-old granddaughter. A former art major, she’s a whiz at finding art for the website. Stuff that’s free and won’t get us sued for unauthorized use. 

On top of that, she gets the email ready every Friday - if you aren’t signed up for it, what are you waiting for, it’s free - she’s also the business manager, the photographer and the one person unafraid to tell me when my headlines stink. Or when I’m about to offend a sizeable slice of our readers. Or when I want to post one of my photos and it’s blurry.

She’s smart, energetic and full of great ideas. A podcast is coming in 2019. And it’s all her!

We have the usual mother/daughter tensions, but one of the most gratifying and fun parts of this project has been working side-by-side with my intelligent daughter. 

Sometimes we laugh so hard it hurts. Other times, well, we give each other space.

Love her.

To those of you who have been here since Day One: thanks so much for having faith in me. To those we’ve picked up along the way: So glad you’re here. 

Looking forward to another year of doing the only thing I know how: Writing.

Aw, screw the AP Stylebook - Happy First Anniversary to us!

Baby, It’s Stupid Out There

Baby, It’s Stupid Out There

God Squad

God Squad