The Merriam Webster dictionary and the English Oxford dictionary share a similar definition of opinion as “a view or judgment or appraisal formed about something not necessarily based on fact or positive knowledge. An opinion is a belief or view about a particular thing.”
Everyone has their own right to an opinion. Some people are more affirmative and aggressive in voicing their thoughts, but we do indeed have individual thoughts that are our own.
This “Write Team” column is indeed an opinion piece. The editor of The Times searches every six months for eight people willing and able to express themselves on certain topics or interests that relate to them or others they know. They have the freedom to write about things of interest and are entitled to express their own personal or political views. The writers are encouraged to share personal experiences and to utilize their own background to find subjects readers would be interested in reading.
Each writer is given six months and 13 columns to voice their thoughts. I cannot speak for the other writers, but I myself write about things from my childhood and growing up in the pre-electronic and pre-technological days, my life on our farmette, things that affect me today or things that touch me in some way that I feel great emotion and passion about.
Most times I get my ideas when I am trying to sleep at night. When the insomnia wins, I then find myself at the computer keyboard putting my thoughts down. Most times I save the article, go over it several times to improve on it and may rewrite it several times before I submit it. There have been a couple of columns I wrote in emotional times that I sent without rewriting and found myself the next day asking to have the column pulled as I felt I was not knowledgeable enough nor qualified to be saying anything.
For the most part, writing for the “Write Team” is a rewarding experience. If you enjoy putting words down on paper and want to share your personal opinion, you should apply for the next term. You do not need to be a professional writer nor do you have to be a published writer. Be prepared though, you may get comments and an occasional scathing letter or email from a reader that disagrees with your thoughts. Truthfully, most comments I received have been positive. There is that occasional one that can be hurtful. You just need to keep in mind that the responder is doing the same thing you are – voicing an opinion. Yes, it hurts sometimes, because that person does not know anything about you personally but attacks you nonetheless. One just needs to step back, consider it and move on.
My mother always said “Do not judge me until you have walked a mile in my shoes. Everyone has a story and everyone has baggage. Be kind to people because you have no idea what load they are carrying that particular day.” We do not wear signs on our backs, saying “be nice to me, I have had a bad day.” People should be treated kindly each and every day as if it was the worst day of their life.
Step up, the next term is coming soon.
TRUDY STOCK is a longtime resident of Ottawa and surrounding area. She is a medical coder at OSF St. Elizabeth Medical Center. She can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.