Making a Magazine Is A Little Like Time Travel

While you're celebrating the new year, we're thinking about summer—and beyond.

By Rachel Ritchie January 5, 2015 Published in the January 2015 issue of Portland Monthly

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Making a magazine messes with your head. The challenge is relentless: think (and write) as your future self, while living in the now. If you’re not careful, the whole space-time continuum can slip entirely from your grasp, leaving you desperately unsynced with the world. 

To wit: While relishing the final, languorous stretch of summer, we at Portland Monthly were busy thinking about November and its various trimmings, from plump turkeys to heady politics. In early October, as we assembled our Holiday Gift Guide, I found myself whistling Christmas carols as a premature wave of shopping-related despair consumed me. As my coeditor Zach Dundas likes to say, with some gravitas, “the future is now.”

So this month, as we finish our January issue (Thanksgiving has still not yet happened, mind you), I find myself making lofty resolutions. Flipping through the pages of this issue, there is plenty of fodder. First up: I will take one of those international flights from PDX. I’m currently dreaming of Reykjavik, but Amsterdam or Tokyo will do. Or better yet, maybe I’ll take advantage of that free seven-day layover in Iceland, then repair to the Netherlands for long walks along the canals. 

That trip, of course, will need to fit within the new budget I’ll create for myself, with a bit of help from this month’s spirited package of financial reporting, “Strike It Rich in Portland!” To that end, I will also embrace a three-step strategy to nurture my nest egg, I will deploy a powerful suite of iPhone apps to enhance my financial well-being, and I will take a closer look at my investments—and I will do it all with the Zen-like calm of a master budgeter. Like the rest of you, I will exercise more. But instead of joining a gym, I’ll quit my gym and head outside. In fact, I think that maybe—just maybe—this will be the year that I finally gather the courage to use my cyclocross bike (currently wasted on city streets) to participate in the actual sport of cyclocross. Last but not least, I’ll make it back to Xico for that “nacho-esque mountain of fresh hot chips from fresh tortillas, each crunchy triangle saturated to messy glory in tingling salsa."

These things may not happen. It’d probably be wiser to embrace my well-worn, if much-disparaged, resolution from previous years: to better manage my expectations. (The key to happiness, I tell detractors, is low expectations!) But for now, because I’ve still got plenty of time, I’ll stick with my grand plans. And I think I can at least manage those nachos.

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