I love being a community, recurring columnist for my hometown paper and for papers I helped make better for years of my life.

I love having the opportunity to vent my mind in a way that is cathartic for me as a writer and for you as a reader to enjoy and gain some insight into my view of the world — the good, the bad and the Baptist.

But this week it’s different. There is so much going on in the state, the nation and the world I don’t know where to start.

Typically, the writing process is quite simple: a thought pops in my noggin. I bounce it around a little bit and let it marinate, try to find a great way to introduce it then expound upon it.

Fingers hit keys then, poof — 500 words of award-winning column writing signed with “It’s that simple,” email sent to the leadership of the paper then laptop closed.

Move on to the next thing. There is always the next thing.

I don’t doubt myself as a writer.

I’m good at what I do and please don’t confuse my confidence as arrogance.

It’s 20-plus years of staring at a blank virtual document and trying to craft a story that’s going to engage your readership on a level that’s different than the run-of-the-mill group think. It’s what the professionals refer to as having a deft hand at opinion writing. But I learned from the best when I was at Troy and that’s only benefited me in the decades following.

Author Octavia E. Butler said this about writing: “You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff and then gradually you get better it. That’s why I say persistence is one of the most valuable traits.”

The transition from crap to award winning is one that comes with time and persistence. It’s also called paying your dues and Christ knows the dues I’ve paid to this profession.

But what happens when you struggled to find your voice at a time when — for the seven or eight my cousins who read this — others would like to hear it?

I write true, straightforward columns — articles without having an agenda.

But as we reach higher levels in Jumanji 2020 the psychological aspect of the game begins to take a toll as you are uncertain what’s safe. For instance, I can’t remember a time this when year when I’m not worried about the death of somebody close to me. It’s like they are all sitting under the Sword of Damocles and I’m watching the rope continue to fray.

It’s overwhelming.

To try to find a way to broach subjects, especially when I write with levels of snark, sarcasm and some earnestness, and think, “Could this set someone off? Could this be the thing that causes more tension, more violence, greater unease?”

(Insert random topic here) has been a source of laughter for years and all of a sudden now it’s taboo, offensive or could be triggering to some group.

All you need to do is look at the cop on the cartoon “Paw Patrol.” For years he’s been the good guy. It’s kids show. But now, because he’s law enforcement and represents the good aspects of the law enforcement community, there is pressure to literally euthanize an animated cop-dog.

Honestly, it’s a frightening time because you don’t know how to approach things.

Linkin Park says, “It’s like I’m paranoid, looking over my back.”

Hopefully things will get better and the tensions in the world will relent and whoever started playing Jumanji will finish this cluster of a game and July will show how truly great 2020 was meant to be.

I’m not holding my breath though. Genetically engineered mosquitos are coming to a porch near you.

It’s that simple. 

Griffin Pritchard is a longtime correspondent and weekly columnist for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.