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by B.T. Kimbrough
I'm sure it comes as a surprise to most of our readers that the name of DIALOGUE's Editor for the past five years, Karen Lynn Thomas, is not present on the title page or in the Table of Contents for this issue of DIALOGUE. By way of explanation, here is part of a letter we received from her at the very beginning of the new year.
"December 28, 2009
"Dear B. T. and Carol, I am writing to you today to let you know that I have decided not to renew my letter of agreement as editor of DIALOGUE. I cannot say enough wonderful things about DIALOGUE and all of the people I have encountered during my years of working with the magazine. My experience the past eleven years as both a writer and editor has been rewarding and productive, and I wish only the best for you and DIALOGUE.…
"I do not wish to be written about in the pages of DIALOGUE, and I trust that you will honor this request.
"I have enjoyed working with you in striving to make the world a better place for people with vision loss.
While we certainly intend to respect Karen's wish for privacy, it is only fitting that we should acknowledge at least some of what she helped to accomplish over the course of thirty issues of DIALOGUE. Looking back at the Winter 2004 issue, the last before she took over the editing responsibilities, I can immediately spot significant differences between DIALOGUE then, and DIALOGUE now. The most obvious difference is the addition of numerous departments, which serve as convenient topic locators. Departments added over the past five years include: LIVING WITH LOW VISION; WORK MATTERS; EDUCATION MAKES A DIFFERENCE; NOT ESPECIALLY TECHNICAL; and ONE ON ONE. In addition, ABAPITA, and HOW DO YOU SPELL IT, two classic departments from DIALOGUE's younger days, were restored. Space for these changes was partly created by removal of the READERS' BOARD, WRITER'S BLOC and the fiction section.
Looking over those last thirty DIALOGUE issues, I detect a sharp rise in the frequency of internet links, which will take the reader directly to the source of information being described. These links are an especially useful feature of the e-mail edition of DIALOGUE, which replaced the diskette edition during Karen Lynn Thomas's editorial watch.
Beyond these enhancements, I can tell you as a former DIALOGUE editor--more than thirty years ago--that the true measure by which an editor would be valued is the content of the publication. In this regard, the thirty issues edited by Karen Lynn Thomas speak articulately and eloquently for themselves. As I said in the course of a CONNECTIONS column which appeared in DIALOGUE several issues ago:
"Virtually all of the early writing in DIALOGUE came from the editors/columnists. But while they were setting up the columns and introducing all the subjects they intended to cover, I know that Don Nold, Wells Mori, Bill Wetendorf, Annette Victorin and the rest hoped and dreamed that eventually, much (or even most) of the writing would come from outside the DIALOGUE office.
"That is why I wish Nold, Wetendorf, Victorin et al could see just one recent DIALOGUE Table of Contents, with its treasury of veteran and new freelance writers, virtually all of them speaking from firsthand experience. Thanks to the dedicated work of DIALOGUE editor Karen Lynn Thomas, and Blindskills Founder Carol M. McCarl, almost every DIALOGUE issue contains the work of a new DIALOGUE voice. With equal pleasure and pride, I note that most issues contain the work of one or several writers who have been lending relevance and vigor to DIALOGUE for ten, twenty or even thirty years."
Our challenge will be to build on Karen Lynn Thomas's work, which, I believe, is the best tribute an editor can receive. Our very best wishes for continued success go with her as she joins a select and distinguished roster of former DIALOGUE editors, which includes Don Nold, Carol McCarl, Nolan Crabb, Bonnie Miller, and Louise Kimbrough.
FIVE THINGS I HAVE LEARNED IN THIS ISSUE
1) That there are surprising patterns in the arrangement of our yearly calendar, and knowing the patterns can come in handy if you're suddenly caught without a paper calendar.
2) That the right technology and the right partner can make a blind hobbyist's dream come true, even if that dream involves a task as visual as hunting.
3) That a recently blinded person can take a giant step forward on that first trip with a white cane.
4) That a skydiver jumping at an altitude of 13,000 feet falls at a speed of 125 miles per hour for up to 60 seconds before opening the parachute.
5) That for students on a tight budget the biggest danger is not the largest cost item, but that set of small purchases that somehow doesn't get written down.
Do you have an idea for an article you would like to have covered in DIALOGUE? Is there a topic you would like to write about but aren't sure how to get started? Would you like to comment on an article you have read? Please let us know. I hope you enjoy this issue, and until next time, thank you for joining us in DIALOGUE.
B. T. Kimbrough, Acting Editor
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