• author
    • Debra DeAngelo

    • December 29, 2021 in Columnists

    iPinion’s story comes to an end

    Coming to the end of a story is so bittersweet. For every beginning, there’s an end, and vice versa, and there was a really cool Semisonic song about that in the ’90s.

    iPinion sprung from a conversation I had with my newsprint colleague, David Lacy, in May 2010. David phoned me up and said he wanted to start writing columns again, and would I be willing to add a link to his website from mine.

    “Sure,” I replied, “But nobody goes to my website except me.”

    If only we had a website of syndicated columnists, like the Huffington Post, I lamented. And David, being younger and not yet pummeled by midlife and the padded but lethal blow of “Oh my God, is this all there is?” crush of reality that hits you in your mid-40s (there was also another cool song about that in the ’90s, called “Bittersweet Symphony” — my personal soundtrack when I allow myself to slide down the rabbit hole of despair), well, he responded, “Let’s just do it.”

    And so, we just did it.

    We raked in all of the talented columnists and writers we knew, and over the course of the next few years, iPinion Syndicate evolved into a damn fine stable of writers, poets, and photographers. Through iPinion, I met some of the most amazing, talented people I’ve had the privilege to call “friend.” Oh, the connections and projects that sprouted from iPinion soil!

    Possibly the most gratifying part of the whole experience was randomly discovering naturally gifted writers who just didn’t realize they were writers! I coached many of them in the beginning, and eventually all of them took off on their own wings. It is such a joy to see someone else shine, and know you played a small role in that. Another great joy was our self-published anthologies, “Belly Shame — Stories From the Gut,” and “Cats, Dogs, and Other Things That Poop in the Yard.” (Both are still available on Amazon.)

    However, as iPinion grew, and although we had compiled an amazing amount of top-notch work, it became a top-heavy endeavor. David was eventually unable to manage the website, and for a time one of our team managed it, and ultimately it fell into my hands, and I had a crash-course, on-the-job experience in website management. It could have become a full-time project and I simply didn’t have the time or bandwidth to make it my full-time job. Moreover, I didn’t have the cash flow. The cost of running an LLC is significant, particularly an LLC that essentially has no income.

    In 2018, I had to let iPinion go for my own sanity. Carolyn Wyler stepped in, and made a valiant effort to keep iPinion going, along with Maya Styles Parsons Spier, who served as the managing editor for all the posts. Oh, they gave it their best, and even brought in some very talented new writers. But, for whatever reason, iPinion just couldn’t get any traction, and became awash in the vast swamp of self-proclaimed “columnists” as social media drowned a formerly noble profession. Anybody with a Facebook or Twitter account could amass a huge following. Tasty bite-sized bits of nonsense are so much more attractive than a healthy, well-balanced meal of professionally written, edited, and curated commentary. Just like print newspapers, I believe that our genre was sunsetting. No one wants to read more than five lines of text anymore.

    Like the genre, iPinion is now poised to sunset too. The website will disappear on December 31. I’m not sure if the posts will also disappear from the Facebook page, but I suspect they will. So, if you want to read your favorite piece one last time, now is your chance.

    I personally am sad to see my own little collection disappear. It’s sort of a “greatest hits” of my columns that appeared in newsprint. I copied/pasted a few of them into the “Archives” section on this new website, but it’s only a very small percentage of the columns I posted, and even that is only a very small percentage of my columns that were published in print in several newspapers over the course of my 26 years in the journalism industry. It’s such a strange thing to have worked and worked and worked those columns, and whittled them down and polished them into perfection, only to realize that ultimately whether on newsprint or a website, all my work eventually just disappears. I still have the original files of most of them, but they’re just collecting eDust somewhere on my hard drive. So, the time has come. Poof. Everything disappears into the ether on Saturday.

    Yes, it’s a sad but necessary turn of the page. Or, turn of the last page, as it were. Time to close the cover on the iPinion book, and set off for the next one. In my case, that will be writing books from here on out, aside from my occasional opining right here on this blog. In retrospect, I think books are ultimately more gratifying, because they will last forever, unlike a weekly column, that’s just a soft breath, an exhale, a sigh, and then silence.

    To every single person who wrote for iPinion, or contributed work, volunteered to help, or contributed financially, and every single person who stopped to read what we had to say: “Thank you.” What we wrote, and read, mattered. It’s just time for all of us to take the next step on a new journey, each and every one.

    Leave a Comment