[The readers refer to these two items about the California wildfires: The Fire This Time & Please Forward—If Possible]
To the Editor:
Thank you for saving The American Rag! Thank you for your recognition in the latest edition about the West Coast crowd and the misery brought on by the fires. Thank you for your consideration and response to those involved and affected by this tragedy. Thank you for your dedication to jazz and your interest in all kinds of music.
We have logged ninety festivals since 1993. These are weekend affairs. Not individual performances. As you have recognized they are fading fast. I am thrilled the Lacey festival has been re-instated, and I talked to Charlotte a while in San Diego this year.
I would appreciate your continued effort and special interests to include articles about the Midwest, and West Coast jazz world functions, festivals, bands and performers. Particularly interested in what will happen with High Sierra (reformed new band?) and what is happening with Bert and Rose with Uptown Lowdown. Find enclosed my check for another year of your publication, and again, many thanks for your dedication, and hard work keeping us jazz fans informed.
Duane and Aletha Van Camp
To the Editor:
I write this with great admiration. We often realize that it is only when tragedy touches us directly that we deeply care about the victims. And so, when I first read of the horrors of the California fires this fall, it was easy to momentarily feel sympathy and then move on to the local weather.
Great editors, however go beyond informing, reporting and entertaining readers. They take us to another level and connect us by helping us share the sorrow of others and not merely feel sorrow for their misfortune. Thanks to your December “Static from my Attic” piece describing how you thought of the residents of Paradise, California, and took the time to search images of the destruction to bring us a photo of a burned-out subscriber’s home, I was transported there and overcome by the devastation that this fellow reader has experienced. Without knowing the person’s name, I knew them to be kindred spirits through our shared love of music and I wanted very much to physically help them in some way. Your action took us off the page and helped us see the fire’s horror. I also highly commend Randi Cee’s article (“The Fire This Time”) about the fire victims in that same issue.
My favorite editor from the past is William Allen White, 1940s editor of the Kansas Emporia Gazette who was internationally recognized for his work. A quote often attributed to White is, “Dip your pen in your arteries and write.” That is the kind of writing from the heart, I read in your editorial last month.
Now I am audacious if I’m nothing else, so I am nominating you and the article in the editorial division of the Pulitzer Prizes for 2018. I only wish I had journalistic notoriety so as to have some clout behind the submission. If any others feel the same about your article, letters of support will be appreciated.
You are most kind, but there are actual journalists out there, risking death and imprisonment for reporting the truth. I’m just a guy sitting at a computer. – Ed.