From the Editors

This is the time of year when, in New England, we often wonder why we live here—when winter has dragged on a bit too long, when that wonderful natural cycle of light and dark doesn’t seem so wonderful after all. You start to feel stuck in the dark part for just a bit too long, long enough that some part of your psyche stops believing that it’s ever going to be summer.

Publishing this paper has cycles, too. We bask in the calm times between publishing each issue, when the paper is out there, people are reading it and we get feedback from people who have been touched in some way by the paper. We start to hunker down about a month out as we try to get the ads in, talk to authors about articles, and begin editing manuscripts. We question our sanity when we approach the publishing deadline, tweaking the layout, cajoling authors to get their articles in at least a week before we go to press, having gone through one too many late nights dealing with the inevitable monkey wrench in the works. By the time we’re starting distribution with bills to pay and lots of driving still to do, we secretly vow that we won’t do this again. We know we’ll probably change our minds in a month.

So this is a good time, in the middle of winter, to muse on why we struggle.

The first big reason is the importance of independent voices, an independent press. There is, or was, a Russian proverb “In the truth there is no news, in the news there is no truth.” It has a particular bite in Russian, since “truth” is “Pravda”, which was the main propaganda arm of the Communist party, and “news” is “Izvestia”, the main newspaper whose slant on the news was entirely controlled by the party. Unfortunately, it seems to apply more universally. Things aren’t as bad here, but the news media are increasingly controlled by large corporations that have their own economic ends. Advertising is the main culprit—the movie Insider told the true story of how Sixty Minutes pulled a story to avoid losing ad revenues. We believe this is also what leads to such shallow reporting of political races: the candidates are big advertisers, so to talk substantively about their claims or programs is off-limits—you never do that to an advertiser—and all that’s left to report on is the public’s reaction to what they say.

We enjoy the purely creative fulfillment we get from pulling together all the stories, articles and graphics that go into each issue, and from the people and ideas they represent.

Another part is the holistic and spiritual emphasis to our paper. In publishing PVQ, we want to reach across the gap that divides the skeptics and the alternative community. Even within the alternative community, people too often draw lines in the sand, saying this is spiritual or good, and that is materialistic or bad. We’re not interested in drawing those kinds of lines in the sand. Spirit is as evident in Wal-Mart as it is in a New Age bookstore, and the seeds of goodness lie dormant within every act or event, no matter how buried. If we spent as much time nourishing those seed as we spend yanking weeds, we’d be that much closer to heaven on earth.

And finally, what fuels PVQ is our desire to maintain a network or, as we say in our masthead, to foster a sense of community centered on these ideals. It is nice to have a way to find out what is going on around Vermont and in neighboring communities. Sometimes we toy with the idea of getting grant money to fund our publication, instead of advertising, or get contributions like public radio. But the advertisers are part of this network, part of what people pick up the paper to find out about, and it would be a disservice to the community not to carry them. That’s why we made the calendar listings free. And our advertisers are, we know, mostly good folks trying to do good in the world, not megalithic multinationals looking only at the bottom line.

It adds up to a compelling list. Is the struggle worth it? We think so, but the truth is, it is a big task, and we can always use more help. Write to us about whether or not PVQ is a valuable resource. Let us know what you think. Place an ad. Take out a subscription. Consider helping with distribution, particularly in the Burlington and St. Johnsbury areas. Or simply read through this issue on Light and Dark, let the ideas within nourish your own sense of purpose and value, and with act and word spread your own news, your own truth.

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