Digressions & Diatribes

by Kort E Patterson, Editor

10th Anniversary Issue!

It is with profound wonder and amazement that I write this 60th "Digressions and Diatribes" - which will also be my 10th annual expression of surprise that I'm still serving as Region 7's newsletter editor.

I think at this point I'm suppose to say something along the lines of: "it seems like only yesterday that Brewster talked me into taking on the job of editor". While my sense of time may suffer from some degree of variability, mistaking years for days is still significantly outside of my typical error range. Nor have the intervening years been so devoid of experiences that they compress easily into such a shortened time-line. On the other hand, it doesn't seem like I've been doing this for a whole decade.

If I'd known in the beginning that I'd be signing up for a decade on the job, I would have been too intimidated to volunteer. I'll leave it up to the readers to decide for themselves whether my naivety about what I was getting into back in April 1994 has proven a blessing or curse over the long term.

I've used three mutually incompatible desktop publishing programs on three different operating systems to produce Port of Call over the years. But there is no need to wake up in a cold sweat in the dead of the night, racked by night-terrors that somehow an issue has slipped from your grasp, opening an aching black void in your treasured Port of Call collection that unless replaced will radiate progressively outward to consume all that is good and light in your world. You can take comfort in the knowledge that I can still print more of every issue all the way back to the first one.

POC has had its ups and downs, and I may be a bit of a slow learner, but I like to think I'm finally starting to get the hang of this editor thing. While I'm still begging for submissions, the quantity of articles and letters has substantially improved over the early years. It's been a while since I've had to put out an issue composed entirely of my own screeds and filler material. It took years of priming the pump, but POC now seems to be attracting at least a steady trickle of good stuff.

In keeping with the nostalgia theme of this anniversary editorial, let me now offer up the following blast from the past - the first words I wrote as editor for the April 1994 issue of Port of Call:

Greetings from your new editor.

Before you get a chance to figure it out for yourselves, let me point out that this is my first effort as an "editor". As an obnoxious, egotistical curmudgeon, it was of course instantly obvious to everyone that I was the only appropriate candidate for the job.

In addition to fitting the primary criteria for an editor perfectly (no outstanding felony warrants), I also inadvertently tripped the other critical criteria/trap in the appointment process - I impulsively volunteered before fully considering the full significance of what I might be getting myself into.

As a sometimes writer, editors have always seemed incompetent cretins who constantly miss the main point of every literary masterpiece they butcher into bland meaningless mush. Of course I can now see that the real problem is all the illiterate writers who have nothing to say - and insist on burying their few useful words in mountains of excess verbiage and drifting unnecessary peripheral themes...

Possibly the worst part of this job is having to give up "editor trashing" as a recreation.

Of course, I have no expectation that my new found restraint will magically infect all of you - the readers of this fine newsletter. Therefore I have donned my cast iron underwear, and am resolved to shoulder the mantel of thick skinned editor, shrugging off with impunity all of the up and coming slanders and abuse you as active, involved readers will feel obliged to sling my way.

As I see it, the editor's primary job is to offend people - either because of what he prints or because of what he doesn't. Since I have only a faint hope of ever having too many letters and submissions, and if you don't supply enough material to fill the newsletter I'll have to find some other way to cover all that white space, I'm pretty unlikely to reject or cut anything you send.

There are already too many editors out there I find offensive because of their refusal to print anything but the current "politically correct" social engineering propaganda. Therefore, I figure my only option is to go for offending the whole world by printing that most dangerous of subversive literature - the opinions of real people about real issues in the real world. Of course, high minded principles aside, I will also print senseless drivel about obscure topics in which no one has the slightest interest if it will help fill the pages!

So help me out - send me something to put in the newsletter!

The following observation/entreaty could be found in the calendar section of the first issue: Evidence indicates that events continue to occur throughout the cosmos. However, the reader is left to his own devices to identify the proper coordinates in the space time continuum for those events not listed below. Send your calendar events to the editor.

The most conspicuous aspect of the list of eager volunteers wanting to be the next editor, is its vast emptiness. Guess I'll just keep on doing what I've been doing...

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