January 16, 2004
Yesterday, we got an e-mail from Joe Small, Jr. (he’s the son of our founder):
“Hope everything is going well at True West magazine. I think you guys are doing a wonderful job of continuing my father’s dream. His dream was to have good stories, slick paper and color on the inside. He would give out a loud whoop if he could see it now.”
This was music to my ears. When we first took over four years ago, the criticism was quite intense ("Joe Small is spinning in his grave!!"). But when I went back and read Hosstail’s editorials from the fifties and sixties I saw a completely different person: someone who was a visionary, who ran all sorts of articles, on rodeo, travel, Western movie actors, etc. It was obvious to me, our founder was not stuck in the past—he was punching a hole in the future. From that moment on, I felt we needed to go forward and not look back. Of course I know he wouldn't agree with everything we have tried or done, but Joe, Jr.’s e-mail tells me he probably is rooting for us, and that's all I need to know.
Thanks to Jana Bommersbach we will have a big feature on digging up Billy in this Sunday’s Arizona Republic. They wanted 700 words but I sent them significantly more, and they bought it. Worked all day yesterday on it and finally e-mailed it down at 4:30. I wanted to add an illustration of Billy peering out of an open grave with a crush of media poking microphones and cameras down at his dusty visage, but they didn’t want to wait.
I’m embarrassed to say I actually watched Fox TV last night: the reunion of Paris Hilton, the Ritchie girl and the Simple Life family from Arkansas. So contrived, so cheesy, so mindless and yet, I couldn’t stop watching. It may be the nadir of Western civilization, but it sure is compelling and I understand why it’s a huge hit. Forced myself to turn it off (missed maybe ten minutes, but at least I could keep my dignity. Ha.)
“We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers—you can blame anyone but never blame yourself—it's never your fault. But it's always your fault, because if you wanted to change, you're the one who has got to change. It's as simple as that, isn't it?”
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