The Zombie Apocalypse cometh! So I keep a bug-out bag by the door, ready n’ waiting. Sure, weapons and provisions would be the wise thing to pack. But if it’s TEOTWASKI, I’ve got other priorities.
No, the first thing I’ll grab is my heavy metal file box. Locked inside are a few precious papers. Most weighty of which is a fat, chronological stack of MauiTime–every issue that I’ve ever had my fingers in making. It’s but a tiny chunk of the 20 illustrious years that MT’s been inkin’.
If you think that I’m kidding about the whole Apocalypse thing, just ask my boyfriend. Serious as shit, man–in case of fire, tidal wave or whatever–he knows all about the black box that I keep by our front door.
So when the zombies come to eat my brains, I will forgo sanity and hoist that file box like it were a child of my loins. With it, I might bust a few undead skulls in my vain escape. Then run as far as my legs will allow. As I collapse in the derelict sugar fields of the hills beyond my home–just before the biting hordes overtake my flesh–I will cling to that case of papers and the bittersweet experiences they bear witness to. Why? Because those MauiTime memories are among the most human moments I have.
Human. It’s a terrific thing be, isn’t it? At best, we get a century or so to express our individual humanity. A hundred years to dance with existence in all our ugly splendor. That’s only 5,200 weeks of dancing, give or take. Not a whole lot, when you really think about it.
MY WEEK SPOT
Counting weeks is really weird when you work at an “alternative weekly.” Every Thursday, my Cap’n Jacob Shafer used to tape the latest colorful cover to his Editor’s Office wall. One by one those issues lined-up, our only trophy to the work we’d all damned near killed ourselves for (cancers notwithstanding). It was a strange and potent sensation to see each block-of-time fill the space behind the daunting bare yet to happen.
And when awesome Boss Anthony Pignataro boomeranged back to the helm, midway through my tenure, it was just-as transformative to see all those covers torn down. Suddenly–where had once been all this labor and love–a blank wall. It was the wild dawn of another MT epoch, after all. And that time, too, unfolded tragically beautiful.
Somewhere in the midst of this, my sense of linear space-time was shattered…
I can’t even begin to tell you all the woven paths that lead me to MauiTime. (Sheesh, I remember being a Maui tween when the zine first hit newsstands.) Or, how–even all these distant years later–every ounce of my current life is the rippled result of my being at MT.
I think we all somehow face that kind of reckoning, huh? Those funny moments of vertigo when you fully feel how every tick of time–from both the past and future–feeds-back into the present that we’re right-now tasting. There isn’t a single fragment that any of us could piece-out from our lives that isn’t an indelible part of the whole shebang.
Even more bizarre was, week after week, looking back at what we’d just published–and feeling like I no longer knew the kid who wrote it. With every deadline night, I died a little inside. And woke up to face the new day wholly changed and shamed by the many ways I’d missed the mark.
See, writing is pure folly. The moment you try to quantify anything with words, you’ve already failed. No tome, however fantastic, can ever do justice to the nuance of actuality. How can lines of letters ever paint a complete portrait of people, places and their powerful stories?
And yet we have the insatiable human desire to write, read, and engage in passionate discourse? Meanwhile knowing it’s impossible and necessary all at once.
Writing has been the hardest thing in the world for me; and I have yet to be proud about any of it. But it’s an honor of the highest order to do so for Maui and for MauiTime.
Hereon, I could (and should) wax poetic about my MT teammates. People who love me in spite of my failures. People who’ve literally kept me alive more times than I can count.
This 20th anniversary issue is a fitting place for that. Because eternal mahalo is darn due-to them, for all their true aloha and talent. (Not to mention all the hell I put them through).
So I’ve penned pages and pages for each of them. Odes to my dearest Cap’n Shafer. Anthems for genius/former Art Director Justin “Scrappers” Morrison. And for their beautiful wives and brilliant sons. Forged in fire, we’ve become family for all time.
And awesome Boss Pignataro. And mad-skills former Art Director Chris Skiles. We are deeply forever-friends. And my good pal Admin Assistant Jenn Brown. And diamond-mind Proofreader Dina Wilson. And the indomitable former Ad Exec Brad Chambers. And gig-giver/writer Kate Bradshaw. And cool contemporary writer Ynez Tongson.
And–listed last, for impact and fanfare–The Russos, Tommy and Jen. Mama and Papa of The Paper. Two human hearts, who together have the moxie to enact their bold dreams. In so doing, they gift our fair island with an independent media platform befitting our community’s crazy colors.
But I’ve already taken too long. And they already know how much I love them.
So right now, what I really need to make sure of is that you know how much you mean to us, Dear Reader. Because every drop of blood/sweat/tears/ink was always and ever for you.
For the ways I might get it right–and the many more ways I will write it wrong–I want to thank you for letting me be a part of this Maui story. Thank you for letting me share in this experience of humanity, singularity, folly and splendor.
We humans have a lot more stories left to tape to the Cosmic Editor’s wall of passages. To fill it up and tear it down time and time again. To die to ourselves with every deadline. To wake up and know that no matter our human failings, we gave it our all.
So when the undead come to eat our brains, we can face them unafraid. May we cling to all the artful foibles that are the hallmark of our species. So we can hoist our collective black box to the heavens and, until our last breaths, proclaim it was a story worth telling.
Anu Yagi was MauiTime’s Associate Editor from August 2009 to April 2012.