Back in the Saddle Again
As most readers may know, we lost fearless editorial leader Steve Elkins on March 15, and I have since been tapped as interim editor of Letters. I cannot possibly fill his shoes, but I can put my editor’s hat back on and return to work. It was a very short semi-retirement.
While I’m known in Rehoboth and environs as a writer, more than two decades ago, I left a job as managing editor of a community newspaper in Montgomery County, Maryland, to move to Rehoboth. Here, I could live, write, and enjoy an authentic life, out and proud.
But back in the day, writing columns for my newspaper job made a liar out of me. Deep in the closet in the 1980s and 90s, I had to write my stories without referring to the other person involved, or worse, changing pronouns. My wife Bonnie was a dangling participle. It was painful.
And, in those days, even when I wrote some of my humor columns for the Washington Blade, I had to use a silly pen name lest my boss learn the truth and, quite possibly, fire me. That was a real and scary possibility.
In 1995, when I started sharing stories in Letters, I could be honest, candid. Everything was true. It was glorious. So in 1999, I quit my job and moved to Rehoboth, never looking back.
Now I’m looking back because I’m in the editor’s chair again. I have to say, a lot has changed since I worked for The Montgomery Village News (1982-1999) and Gaithersburg Gazette (1980-81). For one thing, we have computers and the Cloud. Yes, I’m so old that we used to put our newspapers together by cutting and pasting and using a hot wax machine (Ow! Ow!) to stick stories into layouts.
We used to go to a production house to layout and paste-up each issue, sharing space with other publications. I remember one time when the layout room was occupied by our Village News, along with the president of the Washington, D.C., Chapter of PFLAG putting together their newspaper, and a newspaper editor pasting up a publication for a rabidly conservative political organization. It was during the 1992 presidential primary season and the PFLAG paper and the conservative paper pasted up dueling stories about gay rights. One was pro, one was con, and it was very ugly in that room that day as a loud name-calling debate broke out, and we had to separate the battling editors.
I certainly don’t expect any shouting or fisticuffs around our current Letters production. After all, paste-up and hot wax have been traded for computers and a talented layout team. And while 30 years has seen great progress in both gay rights and respect for our community, I’m pretty sure there are still publications (print or online) spouting hateful rhetoric. Luckily, we no longer need to share space with them!
So here I am, working as Interim Editor, with Murray Archibald as CAMP Rehoboth Executive Director and Editor in Chief. We are both doing our Letters work using the guiding question, “What would Steve do?” To that end, we are building on the magazine he envisioned and nurtured, going forth in an effort to keep readers and CAMP Rehoboth members informed, entertained, and in the loop about what’s happening in town, in our organization, and in our hearts.
And, to that end, we are looking for more writers. If you have any interest in writing for Letters, have journalism or writing experience and would like to become part of our team, please email me with a letter of interest, resume, and a writing sample. We have some ideas for new columns up our sleeves, and we are looking for cool ideas from prospective writers as well. You won’t get rich writing for Letters, but we do pay per column published. How about it?
And so, for now, all of our readers can expect to see their favorite Letters columns and features continue to appear here–CAMPshots, CAMPdates, book, restaurant and music reviews, Volunteer Spotlights, Before the Beach, promos for events, and much more. And we’re going to spice it up with some new content as well.
I’m sad for the reason, but happy to have my editor’s hat on again, at least for a little while. That’s me, aging in place in front of my computer. No hot wax in sight. Who needs retirement, right? ▼
Fay Jacobs is a writer and humorist, author of As I Lay Frying—a Rehoboth Beach Memoir; Fried & True—Tales from Rehoboth Beach; For Frying Out Loud—Rehoboth Beach Diaries; Time Fries—Aging Gracelessly in Rehoboth Beach, and her newest book Fried & Convicted: Rehoboth Beach Uncorked.