Author: Karsemeyer, John

On Being a Welcome Columnist

It is there for you to read today, and every day, right smack dab on the main page of the California Bluegrass Association’s website. It is preceded by the daily “Grist” that relates to it. What is the “it?”

The “it” is the daily CBA “Welcome Column;” a diverse, general, specific, opinionated, friendly, controversial, informative, thought provoking, mind stimulating, creative, factual, fictional, make-ya-happy, make-ya-sad, make-ya-wink, and make-ya-think “beast” with a life of its own.

Created by Rick Cornish, “Father of the Welcome Column,” you have him to thank or blame, as your individual perspective dictates. Way back when, in a time far away, Rick not only created the Welcome, but was the only columnist that existed. That’s because he wrote the thing every time, day in and day out, for a long time.

Whether you now think of Rick as god-like, or Dr. Frankenstein-like, the Welcome Column was his original creation and has evolved into what it is today. This evolution has occurred because of Rick’s idea to turn most of the writing over to a plethora of other writers (even though he still contributes a column or two a month). Yes, those other writers who now make up the twenty-five or so creationists (Welcome Columnists) who contribute their time, talent, energy, and creativity to produce what they write, and then send it out to an unsuspecting body of readers. Readers, who take the time to read the stuff, analyze it, critique it, think about it, chew on it, and then have the opportunity to comment about it on the CBA “Message Board.”

So why in the heck would you want to become a Welcome Columnist? What’s the motivation, especially when it’s all work and no pay? If you have a dance you have to pay the band; but not here. The question here is not, “What makes Johnny run?” It is, “What makes Johnny write?” (Please insert Joanie here also, as there are ladies among this stable of writers).

The biggest reason, probably, is going back to Rick Cornish. He may have asked someone to do it. He may have sent out the recruiting call via the CBA Message Board. But he did and does get the word out regarding the opportunity to be a writer, and not only just a writer, but a writer who has a big number of readers.

If you have attained the age of let’s say, thirty, forty, fifty, or sixty plus, and you haven’t dropped any hints that you’re going to become the next Ernest Hemmingway, Jack London, Virginia Woolf, or Agatha Christie, then you probably won’t attain that status as a writer. However, there is an outlet for you to become know as a writer in big city of Bluegrass, California.

That’s right; you got it, the CBA Welcome Column. The CBA website gets anywhere from two to four thousand “hits” per day, and many of those are folks who read all or some of the daily Welcome Column. Of course that begs the question, “Why would you want to read it?”

Well, if you like to read about everything from A to Z topics that pertain directly, indirectly, or not all to bluegrass music, you will find it in the Welcome Column. You will read about things that might make you say, “Wow.” “I didn’t know that.” “That’s interesting.” “I can help with that.” Or even, “So what?” But you will have read something that gives you a new slant, refreshing outlook, or reinforce your thinking thereafter; might even make your day. But right now I know some of you are asking yourself, “What does it take to become a Welcome Columnist?”

Many of the CBA columnists have a great deal of experience in writing. Some don’t have any (at first). Probably most are in between. One thing is for sure, once they take on the task they become better writers. But why do they do it?

Motivation is a strange thing. Some folks jump into the water feet first. Some wade, and some only get their toes wet at first. Some don’t get wet at all.

Experienced writers may want an outlet to keep writing. Folks with some experience might think that it’s about time to start writing again. Inexperienced writers may want to go through the initiation, and develop from there. Whatever the reason to become a Welcome Columnist, it’s the right reason! Did I mention that you would become a CBA volunteer, and help out the Association in your own way (or another way if you are already volunteering now)?

There are many reasons that the Welcome Columnists are doing what they do in the “Land of Writing.” The biggest for me is discovering what is inside my brain that comes out when I write something; getting in touch with what was not know to me until I wrote it. As someone once said, “How can I know what I think until I see what I write?”

If you are considering becoming a CBA Welcome Columnist get in touch with Rick Cornish and talk it over. It’s never too late to become what you might have been….

Posted:  4/13/2013

Copyright © 2002 California Bluegrass Association. All rights reserved.
Comments? Questions? Please email