BUCKLE UP, strap in and step away if you’re subject to the spins.
This space usually serves a noble purpose: telling the “backstory” of how one of our cover pieces came to be; how it was reported; and, often, a detail or two that got left on the cutting-room floor.
That doesn’t really work this week, because the entire story in question already is a backstory — my own story about my tenure at The Seattle Times, on the occasion of my departure for other work.
So let’s make this a front story, and a note of thanks.
First, I’ll always owe a debt to the many readers who have tagged along with me for all these decades, exploring nooks, crannies — what the hell is a cranny, anyway? — and peculiarities of this place, the Northwest, we call home. See the piece itself for a fuller dive into this.
Beyond that, a thanks to the Blethen family for each of The Times’ 125 years, and for keeping independent, corporate-free journalism alive in Seattle, longer and in better form than almost anyone predicted. And to the amazing group of dedicated, talented folks I’ve been lucky to share page and screen space with for 33 years.
They know who they are — editors, artists, photographers and videographers, copy editors (among the smartest people in the world, bar none) and great colleagues. Specific thanks are due here to an inspiring early editor, Cathy Henkel, and to career Pacific NW muse, traffic cop and caretaker Kathy Andrisevic, who rescued me from what might have been a much-earlier exit from these walls.
Special thanks as well to the current chief carrying on the magazine’s tradition, my editor and friend Bill Reader, who produces a minor miracle — a magazine every week, think of that — through no small effort.
My work is moving on; theirs will continue. I hope readers make the time to offer some of them the same encouragement they long have offered me.
On my way out the door, a final note: One of our very faithful readers has adopted, as his life’s mission, sending a long diatribe to anyone in printed media who uses the term, “the fact that …” in any way.
This is not exactly a phrase of art. It’s clunky — everyone knows it — but sometimes, well, it just works. I defended it thusly to this person, who responded that, essentially, he didn’t care.
Everyone needs a hobby.
So as my last written words for this fine publication, allow me to tell him this: The fact that “the fact that” has bothered you as much as it has, for so long, honestly inspired me to work it into stories far, far more times than I otherwise would have.
It probably makes me a very small person to admit that this brings me joy. But if my tenure here has proved anything, it is that a bit of mirth and a dose of good trouble can go a long way.