It's a little after noon on Wednesday and I'm holding my cell phone in my lap, waiting to answer it as soon as it rings. Todd Kelley, our rep at R. L. Bryan called me this morning to say that the book was being saddle stitched as we spoke. He said he would call me as soon as it was ready -- sometime just after noon, he said. So we're waiting.
It was seven weeks ago today that we at Jasper Magazine held our first staff meeting out here in the woods at Muddy Ford. Neither Mike nor Ed nor Kyle could make it, and we were sorry for that, and Mark Green hadn't come on board as photography editor at the time. But we had most of the newbies -- the folks who hadn't been with us at our previous project, and we were thankful for that.
We took some time to talk about the vision for Jasper -- to brainstorm and share ideas. Here are the most important decisions we made either that night or prior to that night during the five days since I had left my last project:
Jasper would be a word-oriented magazine. Design would still be very important -- but we would focus on the strength of the written word by providing editorial content by the best local writers we could find.
Jasper would be something of a populist publication. Yes, we would still be selective, but we would also try to be more things to more people, both arts lovers and artists themselves.
Jasper would be a platform upon which members of the different arts disciplines in the Columbia area could gather to better come to know one another's work.
Jasper would be supportive of the arts community, without pandering; and discriminating, without being snooty.
While it seems self-evident to say that the Jasper staff would be catalysts for the magazine itself, there's actually more to the story. Too often, a magazine -- and really any kind of art project -- can wind up being more about the worker or workers -- the editor, designer, painter, musician -- than the finished product. We don't want that to happen to Jasper. So, if sometimes you hear us refer to Jasper in the third person, and maybe you think that's a little silly, well, that's a chance we're willing to take. We think that by creating Jasper as a benevolent entity -- a trusty, old, art-wizened, probably-gay uncle who only wants the best for and out of his brood, he'll be bigger than all or any of us. He won't be just ours -- he'll be yours. That's why we made him.
So, here we sit by the phone. The birthday cake has been ordered. The invitations issued and generously answered by more supportive friends than we could ever imagine. We have prizes for tomorrow night -- a lovely door prize as well as a prize for a person to be randomly chosen from the folks on Facebook who have "liked" us. (If it' s before 5 pm on Thursday the 15th, by the way, it's not too late to have a chance at this prize. There's wine. And coffee.) We're just waiting now. Waiting.
And there's the phone.