"Dear local friends: I was informed by email last night that The Commercial Appeal, the newspaper with which I have been associated for 32 and a half years, will no longer employ freelance writers. This decision means that I will no longer supply the Friday arts and entertainment section with art reviews or longer art-related stories (or the occasional book review), nor will my colleagues Jon W Sparks (performing arts) and Mark Jordan (music) also be so employed. ( Christine Arpe Gang, who has been writing about gardening for the paper since time immemorial, is also affected.) I started at the CA as a freelancer in 1984, joined the paper full-time in 1986 and continued as a full-time reporter and critic until March 2009, thereafter writing freelance again until last week. Even though many changes have occurred at The Commercial Appeal since it was acquired by Gannett and this development should not be too surprising, it comes as a shock to me and feels like the end of an era. Thanks to all of you for reading my words for so many years and for your support and encouragement."