Today, the last-ever edition of the Myrtle Beach alt-weekly known as The Surge [formerly Weekly Surge] hit the stands – ten years almost to the day since it debuted.
I was a regular contributor to Surge for the duration.
The Surge, which is – rather was – under the umbrella of McClatchy Newspapers and The Sun News here in Myrtle Beach, was the go-to free paper for entertainment, pop culture, dining and lifestyle here on the Grand Strand, replete with relevant and sometimes racy columns and a dizzying array of cover features rivaling any other weekly anywhere – to say nothing about its top-notch stable of freelance writers.
My particular ongoing feature started as a weekly and later a biweekly installment called Working 4 a Living, where I profiled folks who live and work here – ultimately hundreds of them, and drilling down on what they did for a living – a peek at their daily and weekly lives, as well a look at their hopes and dreams – and what they did in their downtime. Professions of every stripe were included – in keeping with the “tinker, tailor, soldier sailor,” but not so much with the “beggar man, thief” tip.
And then there were my cover features: Everything from the arts to Uber and myriad festivals, to social media trends, Quidditch (it’s a thing in colleges), radio, television and Cuba – four of which were voted Cover Story of the Year by our readers.
I want to thank Surge’s founding editor, Kent Kimes, for giving me that initial break and taking me on all of those years ago – for cajoling and admonishing me along the way – helping me at my rather late stage to become a better writer, a LINEAR writer. Kimes never allowed me to file “good enough” pieces. He extracted the best I could give him at various stages of the game.
I would be remiss indeed without a “good looking out” to creative director Abby Sink – who has been the one constant over the years and throughout the changes at Surge – a true professional who, despite the pressures of putting out a weekly product, always made herself available for guidance and occasional gripes. I will always remember her positivity, kindness and wicked awesome sense of humor.
Former Sun News features editor Caroline Evans took the helm as interim editor of Surge for a time, and was a pleasure to work with.
Sun News features editor Jay Rodriguez closes out Surge with today’s edition – and I look forward to working with him on upcoming Sun News stories, particularly for the Coasting Section.
Thanks for putting up with me.
Fellow writers Paul Grimshaw, Derrick Bracey, Colin Foote Burch, Jilly Garner, Becky Billingsley, Christina Knauss, Kimberly Zackowski, Jeff Thomas and Andrew Levy-Neal kept me on my toes – and there was a time when the paper employed its only staff writer, Timothy Charles Davis.
I thoroughly enjoyed battling with Bracey for votes during our Story of the Year skirmishes!
Diana Zipko, now an advertising analyst with McClatchy – the parent company for The Surge and The Sun News, was the glue that held everything together at Surge events. I fondly look back on the early days when Scott Smallin was staff photographer – and that very racy first issue cover that was deemed too racy for some spots.
And what about Charles Slate’s photo of two middle-aged twins with vapes in hand – ready for our big moment as Surge cover models.
“Those were the days, my friend. We thought they’d never end.” – Gene Raskin