Love to write? I've got an invitation for you!

Bret Conway.

Jack Fredrickson.

Gabriela Garcia.

Kelly Abate Kallas.

Amy McCauley.

Susan O'Byrne.

Beth Smits.

Alegra Waverly.

Carol Wittemann.

These fabulous writers served as our contributing columnists during 2020-21.

Would you like to see your name added to the list?

We have a handful of openings for new writers to join this pool in September.

Every summer, the columnists who have spent the last two years writing for us retire, so to speak. This year we are losing Susan, Carol, Jack, Amy, Beth and Alegra.

I can't say enough about the pieces they contributed over the past two years. Among my favorites were Amy's piece on the queen of Christmas (her mom), Alegra's insight into the "driving around" phenomenon, Beth's musings on moving back to Hinsdale after years of living abroad, Jack's thoughts on regret, Carol's recollections of a favorite childhood memory and Susan's tribute to a mutual friend and longtime favorite in town, BJ Chimenti.

We've included contributing columnists in our paper since our first issue in September 2006. Jim Slonoff and I wanted to have multiple voices represented on our opinion pages, and inviting residents to share their thoughts is a great way to accomplish that.

Over the years I've come to think of many of these writers as my friends. I might not see most of them more than once a year, but the stories they share create a connection. Reading their columns each week is one of my favorite parts of my job.

If you've always enjoyed writing or have a notebook filled with personal essays - and you live in Hinsdale - I'd encourage you to apply for one of our open positions. Columnists write once every seven or eight weeks during the school year for two years.

All you need to do is email me a sample column of 450 words along with ideas for three additional columns. The ideas don't need to be detailed, they are a factor in the selection process.

Please include an address and daytime phone number along with your name. I'd also love to know just a bit about who you are and why you are interested in writing a column.

One of the open positions will be reserved for a high school senior. (Moms and dads of talented writers, feel free to give them a nudge.)

I must also insert a caveat: If you are interested in writing to get free publicity for a business, nonprofit organization, political agenda or other similar reason, this is not that opportunity. Please do not apply. Elected officials and employees of public bodies are not eligible, either.

My email address is below. The deadline for submissions is Monday, July 19.

I have been writing a column of my own since July 1999. Some weeks (like this one, when I have a job to do) are easier than easier, but it is always a labor of love. I know that is the case for our contributors as well.

One final note. This is not a paid position. The rewards come in the form of compliments from friends and neighbors and the occasional stare in the check-out line at Walgreens from someone who recognizes you from your picture in the paper.

The greatest reward, I think most writers would agree, is the opportunity to share a story. Amy McCauley said as much May 6.

"As I write my last column for The Hinsdalean, I am grateful for the opportunity to share a few tales of my own," she wrote in a column about reading her own (mistakenly published) obituary, a fate she shares with Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway and Alfred Nobel.

"Like Nobel, reading the end gave me perspective. I realized I had always been a storyteller. I just needed the courage to write a new beginning."

Perhaps this could be a new beginning for you.

- Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean