Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Storey's Mission . . . and a Cherry Pie

Delicious remnants of Ilona's cherry pie

Midway through my third morning as digital features editor at Storey, I received the kind of valuable advice that comes only when you’re new enough in a place to be utterly ignorant: You’d better get to the kitchen fast if you want any cherry pie. 

Arriving at the table, I found a crumble-topped beauty already one-third vanished and a growing line of pie-ritual veterans. Pie for breakfast is something I usually reserve for the morning after Thanksgiving. But this — with a rosy filling just tart and firm enough to hold up against the sweet crunch of topping — was holiday worthy and more than just homemade. It was homegrown, with North Star cherries from a tree that my coworker Ilona planted twenty years ago

Last week was my first week here. In addition to my pie initiation, I sat in on regular meetings to develop an understanding of how our publications move from a gleam-in-the-eye idea to a tangible object: We looked at book cover designs for forthcoming publications, heard about still-evolving manuscripts, and got updates from colleagues who regularly travel to meet the Storey community, the booksellers and readers and livers of engaged lives (including those who still get to and from their daily places by horse and buggy).

Though I get around by car, when I left nearly a decade of life in the city for the fields, forests, and hills of Western Massachusetts, many friends dubbed the move “romantic”: the promise of a simpler existence, easy access to vegetable and flower gardens, fresh eggs and meat, all without needing to find a single farmer’s market. Few of my friends could grasp the specifics of where I was going. They still haven’t grasped that I don’t have cell phone reception or cable/satellite television or a reliable Internet connection. Romance? Maybe — until you realize just how much you rely on a connectedness that most take for granted. Certainly, these circumstances foster mindfulness and intentionality. When I’m honest with myself, I admit that they can also be isolating. 

Isn’t it a wonderful thing, then, to find a companion? Better yet, isn’t it wonderful to find a community? No matter who we are or where we live, there’s indisputable value in knowledge and connection. Whether you’re a lover of cooking or a skilled knitter, whether you want to try your hand at growing something for the first time or you’re looking for new ways to a life of creative responsibility, at one time or another, we all need a trusted source, a reliable voice and a steady hand, someone who inspires new confidence, bolsters our spirit, and makes us feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. 

In one of our meetings last week, we heard about the evolution of our mission statement. As faithful Storey readers and followers of this blog may already know, the hallmark of any Storey book is that it “serves our customers by publishing practical information that encourages personal independence in harmony with the environment.”

As I delve into my second week at Storey, what strikes me most about everything I’ve learned is this: our mission is possible because of the community of writers and doers. That community includes the people who work here and who nurture at every stage those beloved resources for the life I find myself living. They are dedicated and experienced practitioners of that lifestyle themselves. 

I’m excited to be here, and I hope this blog can continue to be a rich addition to that thoughtful and thorough wisdom that you, our readers, look to first and trust implicitly when you need guidance or a spark. There may not be pie for breakfast here every morning, but there is always something happening that taps into a collective desire to care for the world we live in, through fueled by the passion, imagination, creativity, and knowledge of individuals who are happy to lead us on the path and who make sure we never walk it alone.

- Emily Spiegelman, Digital Features Editor

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