A heartfelt goodbye

By Stina Sieg | Jan 21, 2013
Photo by: John Highsmith

Staring into the depths of an all-white, empty page is always hard for me. I kind of hope it always will be. It's not usually this bad, but then again, it's never been this story.

I've been pacing and procrastinating, biting my nails and looking out the window listlessly because I need to tell you I'm leaving. My last day at The Mountaineer will be this Friday, Jan. 25, though it's likely some of my stories will run after I'm gone. I'm moving on to something challenging and new — a reporter position at KJZZ, an NPR affiliate of out Phoenix — and I'm over the moon with excitement. None of this is easy, though. After two-and-a-half years here, it's incredibly hard to leave. I feel inadequate because I don't even have the words to describe all I'm feeling. I just have a couple of teary eyes and a groggy head filled with conflicting emotions.

More than anything, I guess I feel lucky. I'm lucky that my editor, Vicki, chose me to work here. I'm lucky that I was given the opportunity to edit The Guide. I'm lucky that, even though I was scared to do it, I was tasked with covering Maggie Valley. I'd never written about town politics before but, more importantly, I'd never been in a place as fiercely individual, and endlessly intriguing, as Maggie. It's a complex and unique world, and maybe I've not always covered it perfectly, or captured its unique essence as fully I wanted, but my time there has meant a lot to me. All of my time in Haywood County has.

The thing is, I am lucky because of all of you. I've lived across the country and met many wonderful people in many tucked-away spots. I have never, however, made more friends or felt more welcome in so many facets of a community than I have here. To everyone who's befriended me, invited me over to a potluck, chatted me up in the grocery store, sent me an encouraging note about my writing — or even some constructive criticism — thank you. Thank you. You, Haywood County, are going to be an incredibly hard act to follow.

You're forever in my heart.

Stina can now be reached on her “civilian” email, stinawork@gmail.com. You can also find her on Facebook or follow her Arizona adventures at her blog,