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Volume XVII, Issue 2 - January 8 - January 14, 2009
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Letter From the Editor

The Editor Is In

If writing Bay Weekly stories is a way you dream of reinventing yourself in 2009, I invite you to plunge in. Every Thursday in January from 4:30-6:30PM, the editor is in and eager to meet new contributing writers and hear ideas.

Pros are welcome, and novices too. Teaching writing was my first career, and I run Bay Weekly as a teaching paper, where you can learn the craft story by story.

First come, first met, in 15-minute one-on-one sessions at our office at 1629 Forest Drive, Annapolis:

Plunging into the New Year

How far did you go?

As 2009 hawked in over the Bay with icy claws, how did you meet it?

Hunkered down, as if you’d be safe if you weren’t looking?

Or did you greet it with noise and clamor?

For years, we had a neighbor who tried to gun down each new year. He’s gone, but out in the country or in the big city, you still hear shots at midnight.

By early afternoon on New Year’s Day, when the Bay had warmed to frozen sludge, a couple hundred maniacs gathered for the annual North Beach Polar Swim. The message that bathers didn’t get a T-shirt unless their hair was wet sent even more shivers through the stripped crowd.

Down to gooseflesh, they plunged in to welcome 2009 in their pores, blood and bone. Tide was out, so the water was no more than knee-deep all the way to the jellyfish net. Most gallops ended in an icy belly flop, retreat and exultation.

Some did it for a dare, they told us. Some wanted to show — and see — some skin. Others wanted to seize the day, putting this new year on notice.

“I have no idea why I’m doing this,” said Jane Hauser, a lawyer, from North Beach. “Because it’s there to be done.”

Melanie Wilson, 40, came all the way from Fairfax. “The reason we do this is because we’re alive,” she said.

At least one wanted to advertise.

“I’m a stripper, part time,” a ruddy, fully shaved Chesapeake Beach citizen, who called himself Randy Walker, told Bay Weekly. “Do you know anybody who wants to hire me for their party?”

Good as his word, the stripper kept undressing long after others stopped. This was his second year to make the plunge clad only in a G-string he described as one of his costumes. Last year, after he’d gotten in shape for his 50th birthday, he and a circle of friends made a small, semi-private plunge after the main event.

This year, he joined the mass of red-skinned humanity. Even so, he stood out. Can you find him in the photo?

This will also be his last stripped swim, according to North Beach Mayor Mike Bojokles.

“He’s in violation of the municipal ordinance on proper attire,” Bojokles told Bay Weekly. He’s not going to be allowed on the beach like that.”

How did you greet the New Year? And what does your welcome say about your attitude to 2009?

Send your story to editor Sandra Olivetti Martin. Keep it short. Send a photo, too:

         Sandra Olivetti Martin

     editor and publisher


© COPYRIGHT 2009 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.