When I first moved back to outport Newfoundland from Ontario, I had a dream. Besides the joy of returning to my rural roots, I also wanted to revisit my passion for writing.
I had studied journalism in school, though I had never worked a day at it in my life at that point. Somehow, as often happens to many of us, I had simply travelled down a different path and had let that youthful dream fade into but a distant memory and a notation in my high school yearbook.
‘Love your stuff!’
Now that I was back on familiar and oh so inspirational soil, I decided to just go for it. I wrote a few things and began to reach out. Mark Dwyer, then the Managing Editor of The Herald, replied to a cold email I had sent with the words; ‘Hey girl! Love your stuff! Have any more?’
He published those first few pieces I had sent along without a second thought.
He had no idea what that meant to me. Having your first written piece published is a huge deal, but having someone ask for more? Well, it was a dream come true. Because of Mark Dwyer, I began to branch out in my community.
With The Herald brand behind me, people began telling me their stories and my passion and talent grew with each interview and keystroke. And Mark? He encouraged and mentored and inspired me each step of the way.
Mark has this way about him that’s so unassuming. There’s no ego – though there certainly should be. Talented writer in his own right? Oh heck, yeah! Mark has left his mark on this province through the written word for the past 25 years. And using his crazy, unique two finger tappity tap tap tap style, he can turn out copy like no one I had met before or since.
Prolific? Damn right he is. Thinking back to a piece he wrote one father’s day still brings me to tears.
Encouraged & inspired
Back in those early days, Mark not only gave me work, he encouraged and inspired me. He also opened doors for me. Knowing I had more writing in me than his freelance budget allowed, he connected me with other area editors and knocked down any barriers with his ‘Hey! Meet Pammy! She’s the bomb!’ intro. No one turned him away and every door he knocked on on my behalf was held opened with a smile, simply because of who, and what, he was.
Mark brought me on The Herald’s staff to cover for a maternity leave and I never left. The years I worked side-by-side with him held some of my most endearing memories. I learned from the best, man, and man oh man, did we have fun!
He generously taught me the ropes, and when he moved over to NTV, he put my name forward as his replacement.
Once again, Mark Dwyer had held a door open for me, and I enthusiastically walked through, determined to not let him down. Of course, under his care and love, The Herald was a well-oiled operation and all I really had to do was not screw anything up. Not wanting him to regret his decision, I did my best to do my best to make him proud.
Thank you, Mr. Dwyer
It’s been ten years now, so I think it’s fair to say that I didn’t mess things up, but trust me, Mark Dwyer is still a force.
I don’t think he’s ever missed answering a phone call from me, no matter the time of the day. He’s helped me brainstorm cover ideas, he’s guided me out of my brain-block when it comes to writing, and he’s gotten me out of a bind or two when I’m short on story ideas.
But most importantly? He’s been a great friend to both The Herald, and to me. Mark Dwyer would never take the credit, but he changed my life. He’s the reason why I was able to follow my passion. He’s a big reason why my dreams have come true. What do you say to someone like that? Thank you is a starting point, I suppose. So Markie, thank you for all you’ve done, and all you continue to do. You truly are the best, man!