BY SUE TAVES
October 26, 2016
Whidbey Life Magazine Contributor
When I started working on the roots of Whidbey Life Magazine (WLM) in 2011, I didn’t have an idea of what it would become. If I had, I probably would have opted for a nap instead. Now, here it is five years, six print magazines, 234 weekly newsletters, 630 blog posts, and more than 1,500 online stories later. More than 40 active team members contribute their passion and talents to this community-based magazine. We have loyal readers from all over the states and Canada who get our print magazines in the mail and enjoy our stories, blog posts, and photo essays online. It’s pretty amazing, but I do miss naps.
Somewhere along the line, WLM became a professional magazine that pays writers and editors, sells advertising, has a readership, makes money, and all that stuff. That wasn’t how it started. I thought of WLM as my love letter to Whidbey Island. Well, it turns out that there are a lot of us who are in love with living here. Thankfully, many of us are writers, photographers, editors, graphic designers, and proofreaders. It’s been a joy to produce this love letter with so many people who share deep feelings for our community. To see WLM grow into a professional publication is like watching kids grow up, get a job, and plan to move out of the house. I feel proud, relieved, and a little sad.
WLM is “moving out.” Now that this idea has become a full-fledged magazine, it’s time for me to pass the publishing torch to someone who can steer WLM to next level. After a search this summer, we found Deborah Nedelman, who is a writer, editor, and publisher. I can’t tell you how exciting it is for the WLM team to be able to debate the pros and cons of the Oxford comma with a publisher who understands what the big deal is.
Deborah spent most of her career years as a clinical psychologist, and something tells me that she has understood the power of story for a long time. She received her MFA from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts (NILA) and most recently was the editor-in-chief of Soundings, the literary review published by NILA. When I hear her talk about her ideas and plans for the future of WLM, I realize how much more is possible and feel pretty good about my plans to get back to my art studio. Please welcome Deborah when you see her; her passion for this community is matched by her skills, and we are all going to benefit. Especially me, because I’ll be able to nap.
Before you all get teary about me leaving, I have to admit that I’m not going very far. I’ll be staying on at WLM as a consultant. Apparently, it helps to have someone around who can answer questions like: “Is that form on Dropbox, Google Drive, or Sue’s laptop?” or “Did we ever write a story on that glacial erratic in the Saratoga Woods?” I will get to spend more time at my art studio, and maybe I can get some of those sculptures finished, so they can “leave home” too.
I can’t express enough gratitude to the people in this community who have offered their time, advice, encouragement, skills, and money along the way to support me and WLM. To the WLM team, both current and past, you amaze and inspire me. It has been so rewarding to work with a group that transforms a kernel of an idea into full-blown popcorn right before my eyes. I love this co-creating process, and it’s been a joy to experience this island through your eyes, it makes me love this place, and you, all the more.
So as I turn over my publishing and editor-in-chief duties to the more than capable Deborah Nedelman, here are some more highlights that we’ve experienced along the way.
Enough about me, please consider supporting WLM by reading and sharing, subscribing to our print magazine ($18 a year) for yourself and as gifts for your loved ones, and/or by making a tax deductible donation through our fiscal sponsor.
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