Chatter Farewell Letter

January 2016

Seven years ago, I had a toddler who wasn’t the least bit interested in potty training. I also had a body that wasn’t the least bit interested in having energy or looking good in jeans; plus a house that wasn’t interested in keeping itself flea-free, a mind that wasn’t interested in being calm, cool and collected, and an emotional state that wasn’t interested in being predictable or safe. I had also, very inconveniently, rediscovered a deep love for performing on the stage. This, of course, was hopeless. I thought it extremely cruel of God to introduce such frustration into my experience. Why, oh why, would this awful, demeaning, and terribly embarrassing desire come upon me just when I had the white picket fence?

So I decided to write. Naturally. I had much to process. And it was cheaper than counseling, and it could be done during Drew’s naptime, while lying on my back, in sweatpants, while eating. I had been following my mother’s advice to make myself do things I never thought I’d need the motivation to do, like putting on mascara. And so my two daily mandates became — aside from sustaining the physical life of my son — to apply mascara and to write for an hour a day. I called it stealing hours, because that’s what it felt like: snatching moments away from real things like laundry in order to delve into realer things like color, laughter, food — whatever my fingers found underfoot, so to speak. I also wrote theater reviews. And soon I began to discover that real things like laundry could be realer than I ever imagined.

All this was like rice and beans and cheese for my soul. I asked God for more. More to write! Yes, please. Amen. More to see — really see! My boy! The sky! The specific color of green grass in the speckled shade! And by a series of fortunate events, I became the editor of Chatter in 2009.

I want to thank you for this indulgence, because I think it was a net that swept me up out of the water, with a great catch of fish besides. Now my little toddler is in second grade and lately has been requesting things like “privacy.” I also now have a girl who used to kick the warm computer in utero as it rested on my belly while I clacked away. She’s currently preparing her remarks for the U.N. Astoundingly, I’ve also had a three-year string of continuous professional theater gigs, which is beginning to seem less like a fluke and more like an actual, like, THING. Like something I could do with more of me. Life flows weirdly and wonderfully at times.

This issue will be my last official one as Editor, or as our Director of Art, Design and Goodness, Josh Wiese, calls me — J-Ed. And there’s so much more goodness in store! Our ever-vigilant, plucky, intrepid and talented communications guru Victoria Andrews will be squashing my shoes with some very big shoes of her own. And Chatter itself will become more Chatter-y with dense content and flow like you’ve never seen. Just you wait. We’ll “go dark” next month, in February, and in March we’ll resume with more fun and ferocity. I hope you’re excited.

And I’ll be writing, still: for Chatter, for the IBC web site, for special projects, and the occasional snark-ism here and there. I’ll still be snatching those hours. Maybe you won’t mind too much, and maybe we can all still be friends.

In the meantime, I hope you find what you come looking for — in these pages, in your life, in the God who gives every good gift. Desires are terribly inconvenient, especially the very deep and pulsing ones, the ones that seemed to have been born right along with you. I’m glad God doesn’t find them — or us — inconvenient. That he hems us in, behind and before, prepares a table in the presence of our enemies, and holds our times in his hands — to the point of bottling our tears and counting the hairs of our head. Maybe even the fleas in our carpet. Who knows. He wastes not, and we want not.

I’m just so grateful for Him. And for you.

Love,
Julie

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