WHEN I SIT DOWN to write the editor’s note, I struggle to do justice to the entire issue in the allotted space of 400 words or less. Typical of me, sometime during production week I’ll drift awake around 3am, and the whole magazine slowly coheres while I’m in some drowsy, ruminative state. Is there one story that’s so compelling or fresh, like Jessica Voelker’s exploration of Seattle’s yoga obsession, that I just have to steer you toward it? (And don’t miss those photos by Michael Clinard. No Photoshop was used to show yoga instructor Troy Lucero balancing in front of a computer.) Or is there someone, say, best-selling novelist Neal Stephenson, interviewed by Matthew Halverson—that you should really get to know better? Even Kathryn Robinson’s foray into the yucky world of head lice, introduces a hidden community of wise pest police. Nah, that doesn’t quite feel right.
Or I could go for a (too) obvious theme. Depending on how you count, we are not only starting a new year, we’re starting a new decade. I’m not big on resolutions, but fresh beginnings are irresistible: Inside, 111 ways to have a great 2011! Get in shape with yoga (see above) or explore the Northwest with suggestions from James Ross Gardner’s year’s worth of weekend getaways. Or eat healthy snacks during happy hour. Eh.
Come to think of it, I should just follow Neal Stephenson’s advice, which is that it’s better not to share too much of the writing process. It’s basically sitting in front of a computer until you figure it out and write it. So let’s just say, the writers surprise me, as they usually do, with dazzling prose or fine storytelling or deep reporting. Check out Eric Scigliano’s profile of Zalmai Zahir, a man who’s working to preserve Lushootseed, the language of the early tribes along Puget Sound. Listen: According to legend many of the words in the Lushootseed tongue arise from the sounds in our landscape—the croak of frogs, the rustle of leaves, the call of crows. Knowing that reminds us of the natural wonders that surround us and enriches all those weekend getaways to mountains and beaches and forests.
(Now we’re getting some-where. To 398 words exactly.) We do live in an extraordinary city. Enjoy the issue.
Editor in Chief