You know what got me this job (almost) three years ago? A for-fun story about feral rat rape and remorse. It was just some dumb thing written solely to xerox and trade with friends at a wannabe writers’ group. To tell you the horrible truth, it was the first written thing I’d ever finished.
My predecessor, Kate Bradshaw (who was moving back to the Mainland), was at that meet-up and read my work. She must have liked it–or hated me–because she recommended that I apply for her gig at MauiTime.
I grew up reading MT, and revered Kate and the women who’d come before her. Simply hoping that I could work as Starr Begley (“Restless Native”) and Sam Campos (the venerable “Holoholo Girl”) had was enough for me to quickly quit my job as a legal office gopher. Thanks to then-editor Jacob Shafer–whose only fault is his great faith in me–I was given a chance to do the one thing I’d always wanted to do: write.
I reminisce on all this because it’s the 85th and final entry of “Kula Kid.” The cutman in my corner can’t keep up with my swollen wounds so, slumped on the ropes, I’m throwing in the towel as MT’s associate editor. (But before you start tossing confetti and high-fiving strangers, know that I’ll still be submitting stuff whenever Boss Pignataro is hard-up for content.)
My time here has been gorgeous, tortuous and transformative. The experience has been everything but easy, and I’m grateful for that. Everyone needs a good ass-kicking now and again–me more than most–and the MT beat levels formidable wallops. While I’ve learned–and loved–a lot, it’s now time for me to salvage some semblance of life from the festering wreckage I’ve become and, with any luck, re-enter the wordsmiths’ ring with renewed vigor.
From Volume 13/Issue 2 through Volume 15/Issue 45 (that’s this one!), I’ve penned hundreds of stories and blurbs. Somewhere amidst the mad dash–writing cover features, Upfront News, Arts & Entertainment reviews, Showtimes, Film Capsules, This Week’s Picks, Da Kine Calendar and The Grid (I even muscled-in a couple Food & Drink and Film Critique pieces)–I’ve learned what I like and what I don’t.
Nothing could have prepared me for what it’s like to wield–and be at the whim–of the written word; or for the conjugal visits from my mangled Muse. But now that I’ve had a taste, I don’t think I can do anything else.
As for my next act, I’m not exactly sure. After I’m done reintroducing myself to my family and battling a few demons, I might dabble in freelance journalism and try my fingers at a book or five. But for now, I’m simply looking forward to regular showers, a little sleep and being free of the deadline days’ urge to douse myself in gasoline and strike a match.
Tough as it’s been, I’m thankful for it all–and have a lot of people I’d like to mahalo. Of course, my thanks to Tommy and Jen Russo for their bold shouldering of creating–and keeping–this independent, mom-and-pop weekly; one that can compete with big city pubs while staying hyper-local. My now-editor Anthony “Boss” Pignataro deserves praise for his patience alone. His wry wit and technical knowhow has taught me tons in the last 10 months since his return. Brad Chambers brings in, like, all of the business’ money–and he’s the quintessential bad-ass. Scrappers is kick-ass (and says farewell this week, too) and is by far the most creative and challenging comrade I’ve had the pleasure of teaming with. I could also wax poetic about Ynez Tongson, Sean Michael Hower, Dina Wilson, Amy Mendolia, Keo Eaton and Jenn Brown, but have to bid adieu…
If clickety clacking for my buttered bread has taught me anything, it’s that writing is a craft of soapbox building and tomato shielding. Nothing in life’s black and white, but you’ve got to ink it as such if it’s to be read all over. Then you’ve got to be willing to endure inevitable backlash; affirming choices, acquiescing to critique and–the hardest part–accepting compliments.
That’s where my most important thanks comes in–to you, dear reader. Mahalo for caring to engage in a way that’s made for a most fulfilling talk story. Kula Kid may be dead as of today, but I hope we can continue our conversation anyway.
OK, go ahead and cue the orchestra’s shut-the-fuck-up music…