Heidi Kyser

Journalist, writer

Blvds Spotlight Is a Timely Reminder

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Kim Schaefer, managing editor of Blvds Las Vegas Magazine, gave me the honor of writing the Spotlight for the current issue.

Blvds LV Dec.-Jan. issue

I wouldn’t normally say getting an assignment is an honor. Not only is it simply my job (an equivalent would be a plumber saying it’s an honor to fix your leaky faucet), but also profiles are not the part of my job that I love best. They seem at the same time too easy and too difficult — too easy because they’re usually about one well-known overachiever on whom there is a wealth of readily available information; too difficult because it’s hard to tell a successful person’s story without falling into sycophancy.

But this was profile was exceptional. I’ll leave it to you to read the article and determine whether you agree and why.

In the meantime, I’ll say that speaking to the subject, Shannon West, came at an opportune time for me. A New Year was approaching, ending one fraught with challenges for my family and community. On top of all the usual stock-taking and resolve-making that Jan. 1 provokes, I was weighing serious questions about my own future. Against that backdrop, West offered  a poignant reminder of what gives life meaning.

This, of course, is different for everyone. I identified with West in that her work and relationships apparently define her. (A point driven home by her saying she’d resolved not to let her cancer define her.) Like her, I don’t place a high value on material possessions or praise; making a measurable positive difference in people’s lives through my actions is how I score personal points.

I’ve spent the first few work days of the New Year at my desk, plowing toward that goal, setbacks and side-tracks be damned. It helps me to think of Shannon West, and some things she said in our interview.

I believe it would also help our neighborhoods, city and state to focus this year on what defines us, or what should. After all, we’re fighting for our survival too, aren’t we?

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Written by Heidi Kyser

January 5, 2011 at 12:19 pm

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