Column: Ready for the next chapter

• Originally published in the Kane County Chronicle on Aug. 2, 2011

When I was 4 years old, I wanted to be a cheetah. It turned out that is not a suitable profession for a human being.

When I was 6 years old, I wanted to be an artist. It turned out that is not a suitable profession for a human being who can’t draw well. Had I been a caveman, maybe my pictures of unintentionally deformed dogs, cows and cheetahs might have won me popular acclaim. Sadly, I was born about 10,000 years too late.

Finally, when I was 8, I stumbled upon writing. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do since.

And it’s why, after three years, I have decided to leave the Kane County Chronicle.

While I got into journalism as a way to earn money while writing, as my career has progressed, I’ve done less and less writing – and more specifically – less and less of the creative writing I love to do.

An editor of a daily newspaper is responsible for everything involved with the editorial aspect of the print and online versions of the paper. With that comes little time for writing.

So – with my wonderful wife’s blessing – I’m taking a year to devote myself to writing. I have a couple of unfinished books to complete, and I hope to get through one or two more projects during that time, as well. If things go well, maybe one day I’ll be published. If not, well then at least I tried.

With all that said, I have very much enjoyed my three years as editor of the Kane County Chronicle.

Much has changed in those three years, and I am proud of what we have achieved. I leave a paper with a tremendous future, and I am confident that my successor, Kathy Gresey, will bring the Kane County Chronicle to even greater heights. She was my assistant managing editor when I was managing editor of the Lake County Journals – and I can attest to her passion for community journalism.

While I am excited about my future, there is so much I will miss about working for the Kane County Chronicle.

I could not have asked for a better staff. The reporters, photographers and designers have made working here a joy. They are a fantastic group dedicated to their profession and putting out the best paper possible. And they will continue to do so after I’m gone.

I doubt I could have asked for a better community to cover. This is a beautiful area with residents who consistently impressed me with their generosity and love of their towns. I have met so many wonderful people in my time as editor and wish I had the time to thank everyone who has been there for me when needed. I will not get the chance to say thank you and goodbye in person to most of you, but my gratitude is present nonetheless.

Finally, my mantra since I became editor is that this is your paper, dear readers. Ultimately, you decide through your letters, emails, phone calls and subscriptions what this paper will be. Continue to let us know when we succeed. Continue to let us know when we fail. We are nothing without our readers, and I thank all of you who have been with me during my journey as editor. It is you, most of all, who have made these past three years well worth it. Thank you so much.

Joe Grace is the former editor of the Kane County Chronicle. Write to him at joewriter81@gmail.com.

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