Most students are not lucky enough to have their own private space on campus. I have accumulated many. People always make fun of my key ring: It weighs about half a pound and I carry it with pride. I unlock doors to CCS, the print lab, the book arts studio, the Honors studio, the sculpture yard, my little red car and, lastly, the Nexus.
The Artsweek office has been more than the place where I come to slave over a hot Macbook and produce an arts and entertainment section every Wednesday night/Thursday morning.
It’s also more than where I have the same phone conversation with delivery guys over and over again: “You know, Storke Tower? Okay, it’s under there, and then just go — actually I’ll just come outside and meet you.”
And, though I will remember this somewhat fondly, it’s more than where I eat my sandwiches at lunch while overlooking Storke Plaza, making uncomfortable eye contact with passersbys while I wipe chili from my mouth and shrug.
My favorite part about this office? It’s reading the titles of books people have left behind on the shelf by the window (The Perfect Match: A dog buyer’s guide, Jane Fonda: My Life So Far). Also, filing through documents in the metal cabinet covered in old band stickers. Reading the “Zombie Clint Eastwood” poster on the wall, looking at Polaroids of a past editor and her dog, wondering about the giant stuffed Stewie doll that’s been here as long as I have.
Wondering is the operative word. When I come to the office, I wonder about who came before me. I wonder if I am doing a good job. Now, I wonder who will be here in five years. Who will I be in five years? Will this office remember me? Most likely: No, it won’t.
Being part of a news publication regularly reminds you how often things change, how fast what was “timely” fades into yesterday. How fast we forget and move on.
You learn things that should be common knowledge but aren’t: what happened at the News-Press less than 10 years ago, what happened in I.V. 13 years ago, why the Funk Zone is awesome, what the Living Room was, what existed before Deltopia, what existed before the Loop, before Coffee Collaborative, before Muddy Waters, before, before, before.
There’s a lot of sadness here — a lot of nostalgia already brewing and I haven’t even left yet — and there’s also: joy. It’s thrilling to learn about the rich history of Santa Barbara as a whole, about the art scene, about what inspired whom and who begat what, and it’s been an absolute honor to be the one to bring these stories to you.
Because, as menial as it might seem to write about a big house show that happened in I.V., or a spoken word performance downtown or a public art installation on campus, what we do when we write and read these stories is help to preserve the present, a.k.a.: the soon-to-be past.
What we do is honor who we are now: People on the verge of — and becoming — the people we’re meant to be.
Take the time to honor that. To take a deep breath and place yourself firmly in this moment. One day you’ll want to remember what it was like. And if your memory is faulty, I hope the Nexus archives (available online or via a flashdrive that plugs into your head or whatever) are there to help you.
This isn’t really about art. But by now you’ve probably figured out that art isn’t really about art. Art is about living as richly and deeply as you can — of being aware of yourself and of those around you — of being wholly present in every moment because this moment is it.
I have loved being your Artsweek Editor. I have loved this office. I know that Audrey Bachelder, my amazing assistant for the last year and one of the most driven young writers/interviewers that I know, will serve it well and I look forward to seeing what she accomplishes with the help of a wonderful new staff.
I am also really excited for what comes next, for all of us.
P.S. My perfect match is a Clumber Spaniel.
“The easygoing Clumber has a loyal spirit and tender heart.”
2012 – 2014
Parting Words Continued HERE.
Photo Courtesy of Benjamin Pu; Artwork by Demi Anter.
A version of this story appeared on page 11 of Thursday, June 5, 2014′s print edition of the Daily Nexus.