Teaching column writing this fall - and doing some column-like writing myself in these postings and in other places - has shown me how much I still like to write commentary, mixed with news. Or is it news mixed with commentary?
Today I had tea with the Sacramento Bee newspaper's new three-dot columnist, a young reporter-turned columnist named Lisa Heyamoto who hails from Seattle, Spokane with a little of the state of Hawaii thrown in.
After two years of working as a reporter - doing bar reviews, among other things - she landed her current job, finding three or four odd tidbits about life in Sacramento for her three-times a week column. Three-times-a-week is keeping her moving pretty fast, but she is quickly making the transition from reporter to columnist.
And if her laughter is any indication, she is having a lot of fun.
As a relative newcomer to Sacramento, the three-dot items don't come as easy as they might for someone who has been here for 20 years. But then in her case, the fresh set of eyes is showing the city a new - and younger - light.
And she probably sees a lot of things other people miss, because her usual mode of transit around the downtown, mid-town areas of Sacramento is a sturdy-looking bicycle that brought her to the coffee shop this morning.
Unfortunately, as we finished up our respective cups of tea (Earl Grey for me, English Breakfast for Lisa), it started to rain, which meant a soggy ride for the six blocks Lisa had to go to get back to her mid-town digs.
"Don't worry about me," she said. "I used to live in Seattle."