May 15, 2013

To All of Us Who Make Stories.

Once upon a time, in Whole Foods, I bought a magazine called elephant…

I made an announcement yesterday, regarding a change in my position at elephant:

I have a bittersweet announcement:

The sweet part is that I will be devoting more time and energy to my writing and related projects.

The sad part is that in order to do this, I have realized that I need to let go of some of my responsibilities at elephant journal. I think sometimes when we are creative and entrepreneurial, we think we can do all of it all the time, but I’ve been running in too many different directions to feel like I’m giving any of it my all.

I will be gradually stepping down my duties as managing editor, and leaving them in Brianna Bemel and Bryonie Wise’s more than capable hands.

In many ways, elephant has been my writing home, and the elephant community of readers and writers is definitely a family to me. I have made so many wonderful friends through my working at elephant, and the community here is still one that’s very important to me.

Some people talk about life as a path, a journey; to me, life is more like a story, or a song. It isn’t linear.

We who make stories know these things.

“We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort. And that is why we write.” ~ Neil Gaiman

We know that over the course of our stories, we don’t just press on to the end. We enjoy the characters we meet. We delight in our adventures. Every twist and turn is just as important as the climax. We know that the end of one chapter isn’t to be met with sadness, but anticipation of what’s to come.

For me, it is time to move into a new chapter, which undoubtedly will be influenced by this one.

Writing and editing at elephant journal has been a tremendous experience. I think I can safely say that I have never had an editing job like this one, nor will I ever again. So, a few things to those I’ve met along the way:

To the girl who wrote to me saying her step-father was hurting her, I hope you used the numbers I sent you. I pray you are safe. I think of you often.

To the woman who wrote and told me that my words comforted her, when her daughter had just died, thank you. Knowing that something I said gave you a little bit of peace means more to me than a million page views.

To everyone who’s ever read my work, thank you! I often write the things that I need to hear or think about, so when it touches you too, I am amazed. It is one of the biggest blessings of my life. I hope you keep reading.

To everyone whose work I’ve had the privilege to read and edit, thank you! I’ve learned from you. You’ve inspired me. You’ve challenged me. You’ve reminded me daily what a beautiful world we live in. You’ve made me laugh, and cry.

To this wonderful band of rag-tag writers and editors, you’ve become like family. I love you and my continued journeys will certainly not be without you. I toyed with the idea of listing different people and what they’ve meant to me and how they’ve touched my life, but I’m afraid I would have to keep coming back and adding every time I remember someone else.

To all of you. Thank you.

This is what I wish for you:

{Well, this is also what I wish for you…}

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art—write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” ~ Neil Gaiman


If you have those times in the middle of the story where you are tangled up and things look bleak, take heart. Look at where your heart wanders, that’s where you are headed. Sometimes we don’t know where it fits. We turn it around and around like a mysterious key, the lock to which we have not yet found.

When you find these keys, tuck them in your pocket and wait for the day when the lock presents itself, and be brave enough to open the door. And no matter what happens, even on the days you get eaten by a mutated boa constrictor, Make Good Art:

We are the stories we tell. We make it up as we go. Thank you for being a part of this beautiful chapter of my story.

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