“I’m sorry”

As Eugene Weekly’s calendar editor, I have found myself either saying or typing the words “I’m sorry” to far too many people this week.

My condolences always come after a cancellation or postponement notice, and EW has had an avalanche of both notices since last Friday. Some are for single-day or single-night events. Other institutional-like venues, be they the Eugene Public Library or The Jazz Station, have ceased between now and the end of March and deep into April.

The novel coronavirus is likely in Lane County, even if not yet reported, but its specter of fear has seeped into the pores of everyone in our county and state since Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency on March 8 surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19 in Oregon.

There are no music listings in this week’s paper. Obviously, there’s no template for this for anyone, let alone for EW.  

EW was born in 1982 and called What’s Happening. Literally, it was a paper of calendar listings.

Years afterward, the late Lois Wadsworth, one of the paper’s founders, wrote that What’s Happening was created “because we needed to know what political meetings were scheduled, where James Thornberry’s band was playing, which movies were coming to Cinema 7 and when the city’s performing and visual artists planned their next outrageous event.”

Not much has changed over the years. I imagine it was as much of a bear to wrestle with all the listings in 1982 as it is today. Typically, I sift through upwards of 1,000 submissions per month. 

I have had some frustrated emails fired at me. I also have received thank you cards and some beer from satisfied event organizers as a reward for my efforts. Always, I have had relationships that I can smile about.

This is why I have found myself saying or typing the words “I’m sorry” this week with sadness. I know the heart of the people who are putting on their events and wish for publicity, no matter how small. And I have come to enjoy work.

Let’s get back to normal soon.