For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a voracious reader and fancied myself to be a writer. Or, at the very least, that I was going to be one some day.

At 4 years old, I was the only kid in my preschool class who could read, so my “show and tell” offerings always involved me sharing information from whatever book my parents had bought me that week. Yeah, I was one of those kids.

From around the same time in my childhood, I have a memory of making my sister — two years my junior — mad. We were walking through downtown Brisbane with our mother and I, ever eager to practice (or show off) my new-found ability, was reading aloud from every sign and billboard we passed.

My sister told me to shut up and that I didn’t have to read every single word I saw, but my mom admonished her and said that she’d probably be doing the same thing when she learned.

Of course, if everyone who decided to be a writer actually became one, brick-and-mortar bookstores wouldn’t be the endangered species they are today. I’d tried my hand at penning my own instant classics in the style of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” and “Goosebumps” series, although I imagine the plots never strayed far from whichever one I was currently reading.

I’ve always been a realist, though, and I think that even back then I had an inkling that I couldn’t just finish my schooling and start writing and selling books, so I had to figure out a way of making a “career” of it. My parents had always had a subscription to Brisbane’s daily, The Courier-Mail, and so the newspaper business seemed to be an obvious choice as a career path, even in 1991 at the tender age of 6.


Always one to practice my craft, another of my distinct memories was drawing up my own newspaper. If you recall, that was around the time that a certain Iraqi dictator was making headlines all across the world, so of course that story became my news lede. I couldn’t quite get my head around the complexity of his name, however, so the front page read: “Saddam, who’s saying…” rather than “Hussein.” My parents got a laugh out of that one.

As I worked my way through high school, I set up my schedule to focus on languages, and I both loved and excelled in English classes. Journalism-style assignments cropped up here and there, from designing and creating our own magazines to writing business-centric news articles, and those ones always pushed me harder to succeed than Shakespeare did. From the 11th grade on, when people asked what I wanted to do after high school, the answer was always “journalism school.”

But despite my love for the written word, college ignited in me a burning desire to get into broadcast journalism. Not television, mind you, as I heard on more than one occasion that I “have a face for radio,” but I could see myself on the airwaves bringing people the news. Once I graduated, though, I discovered that everything people said about it being a tough industry to break in to was true. My aversion towards unpaid work experience (as opposed to working in retail to pay my bills) hurt my chances of getting a start.

My career trajectory ended up skipping over what I always saw as the rite of passage — working for a local newspaper — and my first job was as a web editor for a national news website. I was also able to write frequently in my six and a half years there, but I always wondered what it’d be like to work for that hypothetical local newspaper in a town that still revolves around and relies upon it.

When I lucked my way into a green card in 2013, and subsequently landed a job here in central Maine, I was able to fulfill that curiosity for the first time. And wouldn’t you know it — I landed in the state where my favorite author, Stephen King, and my all-time favorite television character, M*A*S*H’s Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, hail from. While my full-time job has again been web editing, I was lucky enough that the powers that be decided I’d be worth a few column inches every other weekend.

I say lucky because, as I’ve noted a couple of times before in this space, it’s been incredibly flattering to find out that people actually read, and maybe even enjoy, what I’ve trotted out every couple of weeks. I’ve met and heard from so many interesting people since this Walkabout column started, and I feel like the newspaper has helped me become a welcome part of the community here.


It’s been a huge learning experience, too. Not only does the newspaper business have a vocabulary all of its own, it’s got a different set of lingo between here and Australia. One of my former coworkers back home, who also moved from the website to a paper, was befuddled when I mentioned some of the terminology I’ve learned here. “Nut grafs,” “jumps,” “skyboxes,” “reefers” and “the rim” all have new meaning for me now.

I tell you this nostalgic story, and write this in something of a bittersweet manner, because after 18 months with the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, it’s time to move on to other challenges both personally and professionally.

I’m not going too far, though: I’ll still be in the area, and I’ll still be lucky enough to bring you Walkabout every other Sunday. So if you see me around Hallowell, or somewhere else in central Maine, come and say G’day.

Especially if you’ve got a good story to tell — I love those.

Adrian Crawford is a former web producer at the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Maine Walkabout is published the first and third Sundays of each month. Contact him through his website,

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