Hello, I will be your columnist today, my name is Grant Nelson. It would be nice to develop a relationship as quickly as a waiter does with those he serves. As a new columnist here at "Area Voices,” it may take longer for us to warm up to one another. I want to tell you a little about my column and in doing so, I will introduce myself.
Some of you may have read my column in the Grand Forks Herald. My topics were unbridled by theme and I used this freedom to cover many topics. I like history, farming, my family, my pets and writing letters to my brother Dave. Sometimes I wrote about politics which was equivalent to bringing a baby boa constrictor as a present to a baby shower. I’ve recently confined my political writings in letters to the editor. I do write about my faith but shy away from religion-except in the case of Lutheran potluck. I love hot dish, good church coffee and Rice Krispy bars and am sure the greatest sadness at my own funeral will be my inability to partake. I see God in everyday places and that moves me to speak however I don’t pass the plate or insist you join a committee at the end of these columns.
I quit writing a little less than a year ago. I needed a break after writing for several different publications plus a regular radio program. I realized during my vacation that I really need to express myself, just not so often. I think the Watch and I will be a good fit and writing for the hometown paper will sharpen my focus. I have much to do however. I have a cast of characters who were left beside the road when I quit writing the Spring of 2006. Although these people, places and things are still a part of my life they have not been in print for some time. Our cats, my mother in-law (I call her “Mother Walseth“-which she hates), brother Dave, my wife Lisa, my hometown Viking and many other elements may need enticement to again join me in print. I need to think about them and document both what they do and what I say they do as they’re not always the same. As a writer, it killed me to miss Christmas and the Red River valley sugar beet harvest and I want another chance. Each month I will publish a letter to my brother Dave and these usually read like a laundry list of my farm projects and farming in general. Dave works for Case/IH in Carrington, North Dakota so the letters I send him usually include stories of what farmers are up to in central North Dakota. One central theme is that I write quickly and I don’t waste your time. I may write about complex topics (love, faith, good three-wire fences) but I write simply. I also love to use brackets when I write (really?) I see these little brackets as “asides” a technique used by Shakespeare to help explain his plays to the audience.
If you’ve read my column then you should expect the same topics explained with fresh stories. I also like metaphors and don’t always explain each detail of every story. I want you do a little thinking and maybe interpret the column based on your own life. I could serve you baby food but I’d rather offer some complex carbohydrates and simple protein in my writings. We’ll both be better for this Spartan literary diet.
Okay, you know a little about me, how I write and a few simple ground rules. Now, someone hit the start button.