Happy new year, everyone. Embarking on my seventh year writing for The Independent, I am humbled by the Indy Award for best writer for our modest little rag. Thank you one and all for voting.
We are now in our third decade as a publication in southern Utah and are as committed as ever to the constant and never-ending process of producing a publication consistent with its namesake.
It has not been officially announced to my knowledge that our former managing editor, Darren Edwards, has left us to continue his pursuit as an educator. The usual bids of farewell and good luck not withstanding, I personally want to thank him for his time with us. It cannot be overstated how vital an editor is to a publication, but for me, it extends a little further than that.
Being an avid and somewhat voracious reader, I have noted over the years that in the acknowledgments of almost every book, the author, after having thanked all who made it possible, seemingly saves two people for last: their family or spouse, and their editor.
I have had the opportunity to work under some good ones in my thus far short tenure here in Utah, Darren among them, and I can attest to the sentiment being saved for last yet most important. This is because I understand firsthand that the success of any writer on any level depends on them, and for more than the obvious reasons such as fact checks and grammar guidance.
An editor — a good one, that is — is a writer’s best friend. They are the one who goes through the arduous process of attempting to get inside the writer’s head and help them tell the story they are truly trying to tell. To this end, Darren was such a friend to me, and for that matter to the Indy and its readers. I will miss him at our monthly editors’ musters. Keep an eye out, folks. I have a hunch that he still has more to say.
Stepping up to fill the shoes of some good predecessors as editor at the Indy is former copy editor and writer Jason Gottfried who I think has the unbridled desire and skill set to take the Indy to the next level. Jason is a curious mix of outspoken yet introverted. Or put another way, passionate about the work and temperate in his approach. I am looking forward to what is to come.
Looking ahead into the new year finds me still developing new stories while working on the ongoing ones I have written about in years past. I am glad to let you know that you will be finding me once again in the Sunday Edition as well as in our print edition opposite the editorial of our publisher and leader, Josh Warburton. Josh’s commitment to the Indy and its evolving relevance is unparalleled in southern Utah, and it has been nothing short of a pleasure to walk alongside him all these years. The decision not to be only a part of this time but to make the choice to be a part of all time is one we share. To the years to come, brother,— salut!
For my part, I will continue in Hunteresque gonzo fashion to put the bastards of the world on notice and perhaps every once in a while pay tribute to the people I have come to respect in the place I have called home for a decade now. I have miles to go before I sleep.
See you out there.