Dept. of Turn, turn, turn
They say that all good things must end, and while we've never exactly really believed that, it appears to occasionally be true. To wit: After almost eight proud years as editor of the Bohemian, I am stepping down to pursue a new avenue and to stoke a new passion. This issue is my last at the helm. Associate editor Gabe Meline has wisely been tapped to fill my wrecked cowboy boots, and he'll assume the position immediately, bringing his considerable intelligence, energy and abilities to the gig.
I started at this paper some 17 years ago, when it was newly called the Sonoma County Independent. I opened the mail and did the calendar and bugged then-editor Greg Cahill about stories I thought he should do. He finally collapsed under the weight of my badgering and sent me out to do a story on a dance instructor at Sonoma State.
The second story he gave me was an interview with Yoko Ono. Yoko's people offered 15 minutes on the phone, but the two of us talked for over an hour about the greatest public love affair of the 20th century. The resulting story got me a staff job, and up I went, quitting only when it seemed that the editor wasn't going to give me his job, too. I came rushing back in December 2003 when that chair came open again.
Serving an educated, erudite, arts-positive, news-hungry community is an immense pleasure. Helping to shape this community, inform this community and take part in this community is an honor that I relish almost savagely. Helping to grow writers is a part of the job so delicious that I can't help but crow with the pride I feel to have recruited and mentored Gabe Meline, Alastair Bland, Daedalus Howell, James Knight, Suzanne Daly and Heather Irwin. I am enormously grateful to have had the honor of editing and publishing regular contributions from David Templeton, Juliane Poirier, Carey Sweet, Jaime Crespo, Richard von Busack, Kylie Mendonca, Dani Burlison, Leilani Clark, Bruce Robinson, David Sason, Paul Potocki, Patricia Lynn Henley, Brett Ascarelli and others, as well as a truly stellar crowd of interns.
Winning awards is just plain fun, and we've done a ton of that since I became ed. Winning an NEA fellowship as I did last year is an immodest triumph. Being on the KRSH 95.9-FM each Wednesday morning is a kick. Hosting our writing contest winners in my home is a marvel, as is baking cakes for strangers, having the Boho contributors over for a chili party at my house each winter and working in a part of the office we've renamed the Love Level (replete with secret hand signs).
But I'm not just leaving the edit hole, I'm leaving the people, too. Copy editor Gary Brandt is the paper's moral center and the wit who devised our occasional Bloomsday pranks. Cal Queen Kate Polacci could not be more dedicated. Executive ed Dan Pulcrano gave me a chance. Publisher Rosemary Olson respects the product's integrity utterly, a rarity in a publisher; and director Lisa Santos is our fiscal engine; sales reps Leslie Kenhart, Mercedes Murolo and Susan Sulc are our saviors. Designers Jackie Mujica and Mark Schaumann, Tabi Dolan and Kara Brown have made making us look good look easy. Harry Allison, Mercy Perez and Sean George get us printed. And not a darned thing would ever happen without Ashley Lazowski.
I'd miss all of this a lot more if I weren't so secure in Gabe Meline's talent and ability to continue the Bohemian's upward arc. Gabe was doing the calendar when I arrived some 17 years ago, leaving because he was just 18 and his punk band had won a slot on the Van's Warped Tour. He trained me how to do the calendar before he left. I've trained him how to be the editor as I've prepared to leave. We've come full circle.
This paper is at its best when it's guided by people who love it. This paper will continue, therefore, to be at its best. And I'll certainly continue to love it.
Crying, but in that weird happy way