“The unexamined life
is not worth living.”
From Apology; Plato’s famous account
of the trial and death of Socrates.
~ by joel martens, editor in chief ~
We have entered a new year. It seems the perfect time to reflect and look back at what one has done over its course. Hindsight can be a blessing, if you’re willing to look honestly at the comings and goings of your life for clarity’s sake.
I like to spend some time each January examining my successes and my failures, to see what worked and what I might take a lesson from to avoid those repetitive “I have been here before” mistakes. One can rid oneself of unwanted detritus by doing so. It’s sort of like cleaning out the clutter—a good exercise for the soul.
Here at the magazine, we work hard to bring you interesting material and interviews for you to peruse. And we try with all our might to do it with accuracy and intelligence. Invariably, we miss things and make mistakes as most publications do. I learned a lesson this last year about that very thing on my interview with Tori Amos. One of our readers (actually from overseas) took me to task for an error—and was vociferous in his objection. I was taken off guard by his passion and momentarily felt the need to defend. After a moment of reflection, I saw that the error was truly mine; I had to “swallow my bitter pill” and endure the lesson. I understand that perfection is impossible, but it led me to re-double my efforts to examine carefully everything we write—secure in the knowledge that mistakes will still occur.
I have become so incredibly aware now of errors, misspellings and inaccuracies that it’s become kind of a game to root them out when reading. It heartens me, I guess, to see that there are others with failings like ours. The comfort in this time of my life is that I take lessons from these events. They are not events that define who I am—it’s a much kinder world to live in. That isn’t to say that I revel in others’ errors. It just makes me realize that even with the best intentions, we all screw up. The trick is to turn that into an experience that moves you forward with renewed understanding.
I wonder how much more we could achieve with a little self-reflection before we critique, defend or castigate. The art of examination should go both ways, I think: To look at oneself as much as we look at others. What’s the saying? ”Every time you point a finger, there are at least three pointing back.” Another kindergarten lesson that remains so true throughout life.
Thank you, as always, for picking up the magazine. We appreciate your comments and critiques. Without you, our writers, copy editors, advertisers and contributors, we would be nothing.
Take a gander at this issue, enjoy with us a look back at 2012—the wins, the joys, and the many fascinating people with whom we spoke.
I think that Marilyn Monroe said it best, “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it is better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”