Editor’s Note

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(A letter in response to Sally Campbell.)

Hello Sally.

     Happy New Year!

     Thank you for your submission.

     We’ll queue it up for our next issue, Jan.4th.

     And how timely it is! 

     I just so happened to receive a lovely poem submission from Ed Emswiler! ‘The Gift,’ penned in memory of Doreen. (See attached)

     Doreen (a big fan/supporter of the paper) posed me the question when I was still relatively fresh in my role of Publisher (Spring 2019), “What is the soul of the Grapevine?” 

     She continued (I’m paraphrasing), “the heart is not rational, it can be prone to flights of fancy. The soul, on the other hand, is steady. It’s who you are each and every day.” This really stuck with me. 18 months into it I was still getting settled. Learning systems, returning to Hornby after a nine month absence and scaling up our production to have considered the deeper questions. I knew I had some soul, but a paper? 

     By this thinking it would stand to reason that my soul may eventually come through in the paper. Like an artist over time develops their style. An organic process with no specific timeline. Besides, my ‘open to all islander’ policy I figured would help inform the paper’s soul, so long as I maintained editorial consistency. An open forum that all locals could partake in couldn’t be more ‘community,’  to my mind. My naiveté all that time ago makes me blush. I mean, how could allowing for open discussion be so fraught?

     Enter Covid.

     This isn’t to say that my soul is tortured (At least not if I ignore the howls of those disapproving of my touches). I’ve always recognized my steadiness (stillness is quite another thing!). I understood that ‘steady’ would be a requirement to produce a weekly publication. 316 issues into things without missing a beat confirms for me that, at the very least, I know this aspect of myself. And the paper is nothing, if not steady. 

     Being committed to freedom of expression colours the soul of the Grapevine (who knew?). When Doreen posed me this question, the world was 100 years beyond a pandemic and the freedom to express oneself seemed a natch. Four years since Covid’s arrival it still seems a natch to me (steadiness/consistency). I know there are islanders who wish TIG away for this stance but as we’ve seen with much in the world, propaganda and narratives are constantly being spun to manufacture consent/compliance so providing space for heterodox views has never been more important. You know all too well of this. Look no further than Gaza and its plight. Bombs land on its head while the media justifies dropping them. It’s why I’ll always stand for a person’s right to say their piece. Of course, this brings some heat from time to time so I could say in response to Doreen, “the Grape’s soul is spicy, for sure!” I can almost hear her rejoin, “have you ever tried stillness? You know, the T’ai Chi ch’uan way?”

     May 2024 see more stillness in the world than what we’ve experienced leading into it. Before that can happen however, a ceasefire or several need be. It’s why I welcome your contributions, Sally. You lend relevance to the Grapevine’s soul through your dedicated writings and consideration. An interesting full circle completed with this week’s submission!

Cheers to you.

All the best!

     Mike