Well, my friends, the time has finally come. This is it. The final scene. The closing sentence. The last column. The end.

Last summer, when I applied to be the literary columnist here at The Michigan Daily, I had no idea what to expect. I wasn’t anticipating literary-centered spring breaks or the fact that one of the most celebrated and reclusive American authors was going to release another book. Truly, the literary gods have been good to me.

No, all I knew was that I wanted to write about my passion, and so came the column. Writing during that labyrinth known as the last year of college has been delightfully challenging. In the past eight months, I’ve experienced happiness, heartache and Harbaugh.

It’s been quite a ride, but now it’s time for me to say goodbye. So what final words do I have for you?

Read! Read everything and anything you can get your hands on. Yes, read books, poems and plays, but also read newspapers, magazines, flyers and the back of cereal boxes. Why? Because you never know what you might learn from even the most commonplace of texts.

Read! Read whenever and wherever you can. Read before you go to bed. Read when you first wake up. Read on the treadmill. Read on the bus, but don’t miss your stop! Read while you’re waiting for something to start. Why? Because at any time, you have the power to transport yourself to anywhere you want to be, so why settle for a subway station or a line at the post office?

If there’s one point I would like to leave with you, it’s this: You are the author of your life. Your story is important. So write yourself into adventure, mystery, romance, action and comedy. Fill your life with all manner of strange and exciting characters, but know when to write certain people out. Every so often, change up your setting or pacing, if just to keep things interesting. Accept nothing less than poetry. And always remember, at any moment, you can start on a new chapter.

It’s difficult to explain how significant writing the literary column has been to me. For someone who embodies the phrase “painfully shy,” and who’s much more comfortable listening to the thoughts of others than espousing my own, who doesn’t often speak up unless directly asked; this column has provided me a space for self-reflection and exploration that has made it possible for me to not only find my voice, but to claim it. It has allowed me to be bold, in my own, quiet way.

And perhaps most importantly, my columns have introduced me to you lovely readers. It has been a pleasure speaking with you and learning about your own thoughts about and connections to my literary ramblings.

Whether it was lamenting the football season or pitching the premise for my sitcom (seriously, let’s get that thing on the air), you have come to know me as both a writer and as a person, and I pray that you have not found me too sorely lacking as either.

And now we come to the sweet sorrow that is parting. But before this columnist goes gentle into that good night, a few final words, to you, my dearest readers.

If this is the first time you’ve read one of my columns, I sincerely thank you for your interest and I apologize for the copious amount of schmaltz.

If you’ve been with me from the beginning, I can only assume we’re related and I’ll see you at the next family function. If, on the off chance, we’re not bound by blood or marriage but you’ve still stuck with me, I cannot adequately express my gratitude and astonishment. In short, let’s start a book club.

Please know if I ever provided even a moment of entertainment or introspection among you, dear readers, I will consider my time as a columnist a rousing success.

It has truly been an honor to share in your Thursdays and encourage community discussions around the literary topics, serious and silly alike, which mean so much to me.

I’m not sure where I’m headed on this crazy road called life, a fact that, depending on the day, can be both dizzyingly exhilarating and terribly frightening. But of this I am certain:

Every time I glance at the clock and promise myself just one more chapter. Every time I buy three new books but decide to reread an old one first. Every time I sigh in contentment at a perfect closing line –

I’ll be thinking of you all.

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