From the Editor:
There’s nothing I’ve ever let go of that wasn’t ripped to shreds with red, agonizing, regret-stained claw marks. But not this time. This time there’s only a complete sense of peace and gratitude.
Over the past 16 years since I started Performing Songwriter, I’ve often wondered what the ending would look like. And Lord knows there were countless times that caboose should have smacked me in the head and rolled over me as I lay on the floor in drama-queen fashion, wailing, “I just can’t take it anymore.” My friends would inevitably gather ’round and say, “Oh for heaven’s sake, get up. Now, what can we do to help?” And I would pick myself up, blow my nose and take the next lead-footed step forward. We all knew there was still more to be done, and this magazine wasn’t through sharing its magic with me and everyone else it touched.
Last week, after I wrote my June editor’s letter on unanswered prayers and we signed off on the issue, I was given a moment of clarity that gently told me, “It’s time.” There were no tears, no rolling on the ground, no drama and no regret. Only the aforementioned peace and gratitude that filled every part of me. And this time when I went to those friends with a sense of wonder and calm, each one smiled, put their arms around me and said, “Yes, now it’s time. And you’re going to be fine.”
Yesterday I had to walk into the office to tell the group of people who have become my family the news that the June issue would be our last. I, of course, hadn’t slept the night before, was filled with dread and could only pray for the grace to do it well. And each time I gathered myself and choked out the words, the reaction was the same: They hugged me, wanted to know if I were OK, and then asked what they could do to help. And therewas the grace—not in me, but pouring from each of them in a steady stream. They took what I was sure would be one of the worst days of my life and turned it into one of the sweetest. I am the luckiest person in the world.
I’ve talked for years about the beauty of independence. The fact is, it’s not the easiest road to take, but it’s the one with the biggest payoff in life experience, sense of purpose and whatever control life actually allows us. If there’s a train coming down the track we don’t need to have a meeting about what to do, when to do it and then vote on it. We don’t have to wait until the third or fourth car rolls over us, bloodied and barely hanging on, for some decision to come down telling us what to do. We simply step off the rails, fully intact.
Yesterday afternoon the Performing Songwriter staff sat in a circle and agreed that we were going to do this final act as a team. We believe our jobs have been to protect and maintain the integrity of the publication; honor its heart that’s big, beating and filled with goodwill; and to be in service to the community upon whose foundation this company has been built.
We know there’s a train coming in the form of an uncertain economy. We know there are changes that need to be made due to the nature of both the print and music industries that will affect the essential spirit of the magazine and take it in a direction that’s not really true to itself. And we know the only thing we have control over is this moment and our decision to lay the magazine down on our terms. It will be with dignity and pride, knowing the quality will never be sacrificed, its debts will be fully paid, our hearts will remain filled with gratitude, and we can stand tall knowing that we did it and it was a job well done. I can’t think of a more beautiful way to end this chapter of a most incredible journey.
To our readers, advertisers, writers, publicists, friends, co-workers and my mom, Mary Lou, these past 16 years would not have been possible without your support. I still can’t find the words to express how I feel, so I’ll just have to rely on the old standby: Thank you. You have filled my life beyond measure.
And to all of the songwriters, artists, musicians and creative souls, you are why we came to work each day with such purpose. We know that music is vital to our culture as well as our hearts, and to create art is both noble and necessary. We need you to keep writing and performing and to believe in what you do. Your songs comfort us, teach us, unite us, provide us with joy, sit next to us in true companionship and give us a non-judgmental shoulder upon which to shed our tears. They let us close our eyes and relive bits of our youth, or sometimes compel us to dance around the kitchen in joyous abandon. But no matter what they provide, your songs are nothing short of gifts.
One of my friends said that Performing Songwriter has never been just a magazine. It’s the community that formed around it and supported it, and it just wore the clothes of a publication. The community is still there, steadfast and strong; it’s simply time to change clothes. I don’t know exactly what the outfit’s going to look like, but that wonder is part of the joy. And I’m looking forward to dreaming up the next chapter, closing my eyes and taking another leap of faith. Because if I’ve learned one thing during these 16 years, it’s that anything is possible.
So from the whole team at Performing Songwriter, please know that our hearts are bursting with gratitude. Having the opportunity to share this journey with you has been one of life’s greatest treasures that we’ll carry with us wherever we go. Thank you, thank you, thank you!