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Back in the Saddle Again…

I never planned to be a writer. When I was a kid, I loved to read, but when it came to my hopes and dreams, they did not include sitting at a typewriter for hours on end while the sun was shining outside and there were adventures to be had.

I fantasized about being a fighter pilot, a soldier, a good-guy gangster, an explorer, a private eye, a race car driver, a secret agent, and sometimes a deadly assassin, dispensing justice from the barrel of my gun.

In my boyish daydreams, I wouldn’t write about other people. Other people would write about me.

But at some point all that changed. I think perhaps it was my love of reading that finally did me in. Because when you keep reading about stuff and thinking about stuff, pretty soon you start having your own ideas about stuff. And you want to share those ideas.

You see life going on around you and it’s sometimes ugly and sometimes beautiful, sometimes funny and sometimes sad, sometimes stupid and sometimes incredibly smart. So I ended up working as a journalist and I did it for more than 25 years at various newspapers.

Some of it was lots of fun, especially in the early years, and some of it was terribly frustrating. An editor told me one time that the reason journalists became frustrated was that they are creative people in a semi-creative job. They are constrained by the facts, and by an artificial standard imposed by their employers to be “fair.”

Forget objective. There’s no such thing. You write about a dispute between Smith and Jones. Do you tell Smith’s side first or does Jones get to go first? But when you work for a newspaper, you are supposed to at least be fair – even if Smith is a sweetheart and Jones is a jerk.

As a journalist, you meet a lot of people – rich and poor, powerful and powerless – and they share their stories with you and you write about them. Through it all, you develop a sense of what’s real and what’s bullshit.

I left daily journalism in 1995, and my wife Carmela and I spent the next 15 years publishing an electronic newsletter on West Coast ports. It was fun. Then I wrote a couple of novels and then the Port of Long Beach commissioned Carmela and me to write a history of the port. All those books are available for sale on

A year and eight months ago, I had a minor stroke. I’m fine now, but I have to admit that it shook me up. It was a cosmic tap on the shoulder, a reminder from the universe that life does not go on forever, that the wolves are gathering in the tree line, and if there’s anything you want to say or do, you better get to it.

I don’t work for a newspaper anymore, and I am free to write about the world the way I see it. It may not be the world as you see it, but that’s OK. In fact, it’s better than OK – it’s really good. Maybe I can learn a little bit from you and you can learn a little bit from me.

So I’ve revamped my website – added a bio and other information – and I’m reactivating my blog. My plan is to write about life, love, and everyday events as well as some more serious stuff that just may irritate some folks. In fact, I kind of hope it does, and I hope you email me and tell me about it. I will share your opinion along with your name on the website, unless you ask me not to do so.

If you would like to receive my postings once a week in your email, please let me know. And if you are getting the emails and don’t want to get them anymore, tell me that as well.

Your name and email address will not be sold or shared.

You can email me at

Until Next Time,

– George Lee Cunningham