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What’s the Word?

Express yourself in a renewed survey column.

February 23, 2012
Trisha Smith - Contributing Writer , The Maui Weekly

Ever since I can remember, there's been an invisible sign above my head that says, "Tell me how you really feel." As Spiderman said, "This is my gift, my curse." And although scaling tall buildings is not literally required in the journalism, listening to others express themselves can save lives, or at the very least, make them feel special for a moment.

Although working in this field certainly includes leaps, bounds, stress and long hours, being able to converse with individuals regarding a spectrum of issues and feelings is indeed one of its perks.

Since landing on Maui nearly four years ago, one of many interesting aspects I've discovered is that this community is not shy about relaying its opinions. People come up to me all the time and express emotions on a range of topics concerning the island, personal goodness and strife.

A few years ago, the Maui Weekly and I developed a column called, "The Smith Survey," a collection of citizen-on-the-street interviews in which visitors and residents responded to my "question of the week." Although I left my position as associate editor last summer to pursue new horizons in the journalism world, I'm happy to still be a small part of this fine paper's family and serve up its news and views on air each Friday morning during the talk variety radio show "The Weekly Dish" on KAOI 1110AM/96.7FM.

Recently, the Maui Weekly asked me to revamp "The Smith Survey" into a smaller, new and improved weekly column that will highlight what's on the minds of individuals across the island. It's called "What's the Word?"

Our society has shaped public interaction to be this polite conundrum, where it seems no matter how dreadful or wonderful life appears at a particular moment, when someone asks "How are you?", the standard replies are "Fine," or "Doing okay" or "Hanging in there."

Forget that template. I want to know how you really feel about something or what's going on in your life, expressing it first in one emotional word, followed by a statement supporting your sentiment. (Think of a "Mood Meter" or smiley face, feelings magnets, but with an extension of thoughts.)

Check out this week's "What's the Word?" on page 10. It's an opportunity to sound off, enjoy "five minutes of fame," and discover more about the personalities that make this isle so unique.

Email Word.



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