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Columns have progressed, developed, advanced

I don't much like to talk about myself -- that's why I've written a column for the past two years chronicling my life -- but I figured that since this is the last column I'll be doing this season, I might be able to get away with a short reflection on these past years and what they've meant to me.

When I started out, I was just a small freshman who didn't have a lot of friends who weren't adults and a few good ones who were. I was a snotty little guy, and it showed in my columns.

It seemed that my main goal in writing this column was to prove to the world how smart I was, how many big words I knew. While in retrospect, my concepts were not too shabby; they were often buried under a pile of pretentious filler, to be uncovered by only the most patient and diligent reader.

But after a few months, I began viewing the world from a more relaxed, objective point of view, and I stopped walking around like I had my panties in a bundle. I even started wearing blue jeans and T-shirts to school.

If I am a smart person -- which I'm still not sure about -- then I figured people would notice without me announcing it to them with big words, turtleneck sweaters and a pompous attitude.

As I set my pretensions free and my attitude became more laid-back, my writing did the same. It was a slow process, but I steadily dropped cumbersome words from my columns -- as well as the other writing I have done -- and just used the first word that came to mind. That's always the best one anyhow.

Now my thesaurus, with its earmarked pages and spine broken from a period of constant and frantic use, sits on a shelf gathering dust.

Overall, I believe year two of my column was more successful than year one. That's not to say it was the boss: I had to dig further into my creative well to draw ideas after burning through all the obvious ones in my first year of writing.

Some may even argue that the well ran dry around April. But somehow a topic would always surface, even if it comes at the 11th hour and ends up being a column about writing columns.

Writing a column adds a perspective to life that few people are given the opportunity to experience. As for me, I constantly see the world through the eyes of my next column. My family gets really tense and nervous on Thursday nights, in anticipation of which family secrets will be made public this Sunday.

And I guess now would be as good a time as ever to confess that embellishments do slip into my columns from time to time.

One aspect of my column that I have really appreciated has been the frequency of it. I know that seems like an odd thing to mention, but I just think a week is the perfect amount of time in which to conceive, write and submit a column.

I can't imagine trying to say something worthwhile every day, and if I only wrote once a month, it would be too easy to keep editing and end up with an over-done version of something that should have just been left alone.

As much fun as this column has been for me to write, everyone needs a small break every now and then. I don't think I'll be able to totally keep myself from writing -- it's just too much a part of who I am -- but I might see if I can't find some other creative outlets as well.

Music is important to me right now. I may give the piano another chance -- see if I find it any more enjoyable than I did five years ago. Or I might just pick up the guitar and pursue my dream of becoming a folk artist. Perhaps I'll try my hand at filmmaking, or maybe I'll just spend some time in the woods and finally find myself. Who knows?

And then, when I've had my week of vacation, I'll climb to the summit of Detroit Mountain on Sunday morning and listen to the city groan as its citizens wake up, grab their newspapers, and collectively discover that the Kitz is back for another year of writing for The Wave.

Nathan Kitzmann is a junior at Detroit Lakes High School.