Letter from the editor.


Welcome to our 50th Anniversary issue! No, we haven't been around for 50 years, but indulge us with the hyperbole for issue number 50. We're thrilled to be here and thriving.

The stack of books in the photo to the right best tells our story. That tower, minus the bricks and grass, was on the cover of our first marketing postcard. I took the photo in my front yard at the time in California. When Allison Nelson and I started the magazine, we didn't have an office: we worked out of our homes and met once a week for dim sum. We also didn't have fancy lights for photography, and we couldn't afford a professional photographer, so if we wanted an image--say, a big stack of books for a postcard--we had to wait for a sunny day and run outside with a camera.


So I spent a couple hours one day stacking books, watching them fall down, stacking them again, and finally figuring out where and how to add support. If you look closely, you'll see a few pieces of wood holding up the tower. We cropped all that out later. A neighbor came over to try to figure out what the heck I was doing. She ended up helping me steady the ladder I'd perched on a brick outcropping on my front porch to get the right perspective for the shot.

That's how we did it--by doing it all ourselves. I wrote the entire preview issue, while Allison single-handedly managed every aspect of the business side, including customer service calls and mailings, for two years.

In the photo to the right, you can see Allison with me in between two more stacks of books. I look older now.

I always joked that, after the magazine was a success, I'd start an equally risky venture, like open a restaurant. I...

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