Team Effort

We double-teamed a lot of the features in this issue.


John Heckathorn
I've always liked writing, but one thing I never liked about it is that it's a solitary craft. William Goldman, the novelist (Boys & Girls Together) and screenwriter (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), used to take reporters who asked what writing was like into his study. Then he wouldn't say anything, until the reporter got it that the writing life was full of silence.

Fortunately, magazine writing is a collaborative craft. In fact, most of this issue was put together by teams.

The first team was our award-winning architectural writer Kam Napier and our fashionable associate editor Kathryn Drury. We wanted a spectacular array of the hottest products for the home in this issue. Both Drury and Napier are two people who are entirely secure in their taste-they just don't have the same taste. Despairing of getting them to agree, I finally said, "Why don't you just do a piece called his house, her house?" I was joking.

To my amazement, they stood up, went out and cheerfully did just that. Came up with eight pages of the newest and most stylish stuff for your home, one page of his picks (masculine, industrial, lots of refined design), one page of hers (a little kicky and more feminine, like you might expect from someone who wears short skirts and purple suede pumps to the office). The products are enough to put you into redecoration envy. The captions, his and hers, made me laugh out loud when I read them. Oh, and the two came up with a series of tips for resolving his/her decorating dilemmas in your own house.

While Drury and Napier were touring the showrooms for furniture and furnishings, associate editor Ronna Bolante embarked on an ambitious "Who Makes What" story. No one likes to talk about money, but everyone wants to know how much other people make. Bolante noted we had not done a salary survey since '97, when Napier and I put one together through weeks of research. With a certain amount of chutzpah, she told us, "Oh, don't worry, I can do it myself."

Within a week, she was looking a little stressed, and we added projects editor Mike Keany to the team. Their main instruction was that they could not reveal individual salaries that weren't already public information. They dug through corporate reports and non-profit tax statements for public data, making sure to confirm the numbers. For job categories not subject to public reporting, the two worked their sources, getting typical salaries for various occupations.

The result: A cover story that uncovers what people really make in Honolulu. It was such compelling reading, we bumped "His House, Her House" off the cover and gave our second team first billing.

Our food editor Joan Namkoong and I teamed up for the back of the book. We knew there were lots of new restaurants on the Big Island, but there was so much ground to cover, we split it up. In our Dining column, this month, you'll find me covering new restaurants in Kona and Namkoong doing the same in Hilo.

Namkoong really did double duty. She wrote her usual food column and also a wine and cheese piece for our special wine section, Uncorked. Uncorked was also a team effort, with writer Alex Salkever bringing us up to date on the new wave of Spanish wines, and our own marketing director and in-house wine maven, Gwen Trowbridge, writing about how to throw a wine tasting at home.

Finally, much of our editorial team, including contributing editor Guy Sibilla, read all the stories submitted in this year's HONOLULU Magazine/Starbucks Coffee Hawai'i Fiction Contest. After some remarkably civil discussion, they agreed wholeheartedly on a winner. When I unsealed the names of the fiction entrants, I was pleased to discover the winning story was by a local writer whose craft and wit I have long admired, Lee Tonouchi, who wins our contest, and $1,000, for the first time.

Tonouchi, like most creative writers, probably labors in silence and solitude. Nonetheless, this month we're glad to welcome him to our team.

John Heckathorn

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Honolulu Magazine June 2019
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