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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.