Weekly newsletter intro 4-29-08
Though all four comments on our website form a resounding cry that Waylon should continue to write the editor’s letter, we’ve decided to throw democracy out the window and make an executive decision. Off with his head! Waylon’s time is limited, he wants to start working on his novel and he wants to let…go…a…little…bit, and someone else step forward. Starting with this issue, I’ll be taking over the letter. Yikes! To be completely honest, the thought of filling Waylon’s shoes leaves me with sweaty armpits and a pit in my stomach. I keep thinking, “Can I do it?” Write the lead article for a popular grassroots magazine that’s suddenly available everywhere, coast-to-coast?
When it comes to writing, there’s one quote that I come back to again and again for inspiration and direction. Chris Abani, one of my favorite writers, said, “If there’s nothing at risk for you, it cannot be art. There has to be something at risk.” Like Chris, I come from a background of creative writing—I graduated just last year from Naropa University’s writing program—and I have no formal training in journalism. While writing a product review of sunscreen—or an editor’s letter on cleaning products—may not be considered “art,” I think that journalists—with the fundamental responsibility of giving people information about the outside world—should above all take risks. If we’re not questioning, then we’re all just filling space and spinning our own wheels.
What am I risking? That I won’t sound like Waylon, that some readers may be disappointed. There’s expectations to meet, but I’ve got to meet them in my own way—otherwise it won’t be honest. And as the magazine continues to expand and change, I hope to see elephant keep questioning, keep risking—while remaining loyal to the integrity of our mission: to be of benefit, and have a good time doing so. ~ Heather Mueller, ed.