Touch You... Touch Me...

Wild Fibers 10th Anniversary - - Features - Linda Cor­tright Publisher and Ed­i­tor

Ten years ago, I sat down to write my first Wild Fibers ed­i­to­rial. I was ex­cited, ex­hausted, and rid­dled with anx­i­ety. Af­ter 40 is­sues (and 40 dead­lines) the best thing I can now say is this — noth­ing has changed. Okay, a few things have changed. In the old days, it would take six, seven, and some­times eight CDs to hold the mag­a­zine file, which I would then take to my printer (an hour and a half drive) to Port­land, Maine. My ac­count ex­ec­u­tive Tina La­joie would talk me off the ledge as one gl­itch af­ter another would in­evitably un­fold, and af­ter ev­ery is­sue, I vowed to do bet­ter the next time. Like I said — noth­ing has changed. Okay, that’s not en­tirely true. I no longer put the mag­a­zine on CDs. In fact, I don’t even have to get in my car. The print­ing process (from my end) now con­sists of just two but­tons: “Save” and “Send.” I can only de­scribe it in one word: MAGIC!

Gone are the days when I would wait for the courier to de­liver a fat en­ve­lope to my of­fice con­tain­ing the mag­a­zine gal­leys. Now, the whole thing is done online sav­ing time, ex­pense, and pa­per. Un­for­tu­nately, this has not saved on ex­haus­tion or anx­i­ety, but that’s not tech­nol­ogy’s fault.

The truth is sim­ple; hard work is a byprod­uct of pas­sion. And if you are a per­fec­tion­ist about your pas­sion (and many are), you will work even harder. And frankly, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. You keep work­ing un­til you get it right. Right?

Ten years ago, I had ab­so­lutely no idea of what was right. I have sub­se­quently dis­cov­ered that more than 10,000 read­ers are an acid test of find­ing out what’s wrong. If any­one has ever won­dered what an ed­i­tor’s hell looks like, try print­ing a mag­a­zine with a typo on the cover!

How­ever, my tenth an­niver­sary is not the time for self-flag­el­la­tion — at least, not openly. In­stead, it is the time to cel­e­brate 10 years of spec­tac­u­lar trav­els, ex­tra­or­di­nary peo­ple, and most of all, wild fibers. I am ev­ery bit as ex­cited to­day meet­ing farm­ers and their flocks as I was ten years ago. And some­times, I am more ex­cited meet­ing the flocks than the farm­ers.

I still can’t help oc­ca­sion­ally stroking the shoul­der of a stranger and ca­su­ally say­ing, “Hmmm … is that cashmere you’re wear­ing?” And I am even more likely to prof­fer my own sleeve and say, “Touch this — it’s qiviut!”

But whether it’s a cashmere scarf, a qiviut sweater, or wool socks so rough they’ll make your soles bleed, there’s more to Wild Fibers than a gi­ant ball of yarn. My mis­sion, as I have re­peat­edly stated, is to un­der­stand and pro­mote the role nat­u­ral fibers play in sup­port­ing both the peo­ple and the land.

The ques­tion I must ask af­ter 10 years (and more than one mil­lion fre­quent flyer miles) is if, in fact, I have done just that?

Judg­ing by the let­ters I have re­ceived, the an­swer is yes. But some­thing has hap­pened in the course of the past 10 years, some­thing quite dif­fer­ent than I ever could have imag­ined; Wild Fibers has served as a cu­ri­ous con­duit into peo­ple’s hearts.

Un­like most mag­a­zines that fea­ture a sec­tion for Let­ters to the Ed­i­tor, I have al­ways kept those cor­re­spon­dences to my­self. Yet, they have of­fered me some of the most grat­i­fy­ing sto­ries imag­in­able and there is one, in par­tic­u­lar, I will never for­get.

A sub­scriber wrote to “thank me” not only for my work within the world of nat­u­ral fibers, but for what I had done (in­ad­ver­tently) to heal a bro­ken re­la­tion­ship. Af­ter a life­time of con­tentious re­la­tions with her fa­ther, she was now his care­taker at age 87. Ap­par­ently, time had done lit­tle to calm the ag­i­tated waters be­tween them un­til one day she be­gan read­ing Wild Fibers out loud.

She started with the back page (most peo­ple do) and af­ter they started laugh­ing she pro­ceeded to read him the rest. Soon, they were talk­ing about far­away places in a way that en­gaged both their heads and their hearts. There was noth­ing to ar­gue about. There was no right, nor wrong, no po­lit­i­cal left or right wool. Sud­denly, this lit­tle pub­li­ca­tion so of­ten re­ferred to as “the Na­tional Ge­o­graphic of fibers” had be­gun to bro­ker peace.

I have never read a copy of Wild Fibers to my par­ents; they have both been dead more years than I care to re­mem­ber. And yet, I be­lieve that just maybe, there is a chance that had my mother lived to see the day when her only daugh­ter would have the words “ed­i­tor and publisher” at the end of her name, we could have smoothed our dif­fer­ences.

In my very first ed­i­to­rial, I promised that the words from Wild Fibers would seek to both ed­u­cate and en­ter­tain its read­ers. I had lit­tle idea back then just how much those words would come from my heart. It is my great hope they have come to find a place in yours.

And now, on to the next chap­ter. I hope you will be there to join me.

(Left to right) My first pro­fes­sional head­shot as a mag­a­zine ed­i­tor, and the wear and tear of 40 dead­lines later. But noth­ing has changed ... right?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.