Headed for Texas

I’ve got a new home, both literal and figurative, for the next month. I’ll be living in Stephenville, Texas, from which I’ll host a blog called Stephenville Dreams.

The first entry on the blog, which is already underway, explains the genesis of this new adventure, but I’ll give you a short recap here: An old journalism pal of mine who’s since become a public relations whiz recruited me a couple of months ago to join a project on behalf of a Richmond manufacturer of pillows (among other things). Using the slogan “Sleep Better, Dream Bigger” as a starting point, my pal wanted me to set up shop in a small, prototypically American town and determine how people maintain their dreams for the future in tough times. Stephenville is that town.

There’s another story behind this project. This assignment in Stephenville will be (I hope) only my first effort at privately funded journalism. Yes, I know most journalism is “privately funded,” in that government money generally isn’t involved in news gathering. But what I mean is that it’s rare for a corporation that’s not in the news business to finance a long-term reporting project — which is exactly what my trip to Stephenville happens to be. My only instructions have been: (1) Travel to Stephenville; (2) find interesting things to write about; and (3) then write about them. Not only is Carpenter Co., the financier behind this project, not dictating the content of the site, I haven’t yet even met anyone from the company.

Needless to say, the thousands of newspaper reporters and editors who’ve lost their jobs in the past year hope that Carpenter’s experiment in journalism is the start of a trend.

Please check in and read about Stephenville, which I’ve already visited and found charming. You can go to www.sleepbetter.org (which has lots of cool stuff) and click on “Stephenville Dreams,” or you can get to the blog directly by clicking here.

And here’s a little bait on the hook: There’s a surprise guest in store.

11 Responses to “Headed for Texas”

  1. GinnySkal Says:

    What a neat project to tackle. I’ll be following “Stephenville Dreams.” Good luck and have fun.

  2. PungoCreek Says:

    I’m not sure where Stephenville is in Texas, but I will tell you I spent a year in Texas one week. Dallas was my location. Good luck.

  3. lippzee Says:

    how come i didn’t get that damn job? my writing puts more people to sleep than yours does.

  4. In The Arena Says:

    There he goes again Martha.

  5. miss margot Says:

    congrats on what seems like (wait for it…) a dream assignment. can’t wait to follow the blog.

  6. RaoulDuke Says:

    Man, oh man am I jealous. An open-ended, loose-reined gig in beloved Tejas. Shore ’nuff, Dan — trot yourself down to this Lone Star State and git you some chicken fried steak and Shiner Bock. How you gonna keep the boy down on the Fuquay farm after this?

  7. TexasYankee Says:

    Whoa. Did you pick the wrong time to come to North Central Texas. High today cools down to 103. They told me when I moved here 23 years ago that I’d get used to it; they lied. I’ll be north of you on US 377 near Cresson, north of Granbury, enjoying my “layoff” from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In Stephenville (and actually here in Cresson, too), try the Tumbleweeds restaurant for great BBQ. Good luck.
    Gary

  8. John Says:

    WTF? My damned job pulls me away from Gearino’s Word Factory for a month and I return to find out he’s flown the coop. Texas no less -where the wind don’t blow, it sucks.

    Sponging off some mattress maker and bunking at a bed & breakfast. Writing blogs about people’s dreams.

    Oh yeah, rubbing elbows with Jewel too.

    I got dreams, Gearino - good ones. Coincedentally, some involve Jewel.

  9. john Says:

    While I’m as happy as the next guy for Gearino’s foray into whatever the hell it is he’s foray-ing into, I can’t help but be suspicious.

    George, (that’s what we called him back home) is like a twin brother to me. A smarter, more successful, graduated from- high-school-on-time, Italian, luckier-with-the-ladies, fraternal twin brother.

    OK, so we weren’t born of the same parents and I don’t even think he knew who I was until he ran a background check on me a couple years ago. But I’ve felt for a long time that there’s a special bond between us. Some kind of Dickensian thing that I could explain if I knew what the hell I was talking about.

    The deal is, why does Gearino have to sequester himself away in Stephenville, Texas for 30 days - isolated from all his pals and admirers - his support system, in other words.

    And what do we really know about this Stephenville anyway? Well, apparently, their mayor was a flight attendant and the town is plagued by feral cats. Seems harmless enough I guess.

    Forget I mentioned anything. It’s none of my business. Gearino’s a big boy. He can take care of himself.

  10. RLR Says:

    [18 Aug, after the Stephenville Dreams experiment ended]

    Hey, is this thing on?

    Where GDG be?

  11. G.D. Gearino Says:

    (snicker) OK, I’ve been caught reveling in my laziness. Yes, I’m back from Texas. Yes, this thing is on. I’ll be back in business soon. Anything happen while I was gone?