by MELODIE DAVIS
I began this job as local editor for what was then called Living back when my children were just 5, 8 and 10. Several years later I became national editor—at one time we had four editions covering parts of Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Now Valley Living is the only edition that remains, and we are exceedingly grateful for local Shenandoah Valley community support from advertisers, sponsors and donors who make it possible for this uplifting and entertaining magazine to continue. A huge shout out to all who stepped up with some very generous gifts in a fund drive just before Christmas. You have made this possible!
Where did 25 years go? You hear that question often upon reaching birthdays, anniversaries or retirement celebrations. Along with my editorial duties, I also usually write a local feature each issue about a person, family, organization or event. That’s approximately 100 articles over 25 years (I had help occasionally) on outstanding or memorable individuals from Harrisonburg and the surrounding area, and the difficulties or challenges they’ve fought and lived through. Meeting so many wonderful people, interviewing, photographing and organizing such material into published stories has been the best part of this job.
We are also able to publish fascinating stories and articles sharing the experiences of freelance writers from across the U.S. “Freelance” usually means someone writing articles on the side of parenting, or another job, or in retirement for a variety of publications, and accepting whatever fee the magazine pays. We do not pay very much (our writer guidelines and fee range is on our website) but what thrills me is to get an email or note from a writer about what it means to them to be published—sometimes the pay we send is the first money they’ve ever earned from their writing! They are often overjoyed and want copies to share with families and friends. Many of our writers are experienced professionals, too, and we certainly seek to share the very best—writing is very competitive today with hundreds of thousands seeking ink—even in these days of digital everything.
Writing is just one creative art. In this issue we announce the beginning of a year long celebration of Valley Living’s 25 years by sponsoring an art contest for children with the winning creations to be published in the summer issue of the magazine, and additional creative contests (for other age groups) in future issues. Talk about excitement in getting artwork (or other creative endeavors) published! We’ll be happy to announce each quarter’s theme and medium in each issue of Valley Living. See page 9 for details about the current art contest.
Twenty-five years later this mother of three now has three very young grandchildren, and another on the way. Color me happy—and feeling very fortunate because I know not everyone gets this chance—some of those difficult stories of trial and perseverance of your friends and neighbors have been printed in these pages.
We as Valley Living staff and board are pleased to have the chance to publish and share this uplifting, entertaining and positive publication. Help us keep it going by telling your friends about this magazine, the art contest, the website, our advertisers, and liking our Facebook page! We also wish you the best in this coming spring season, and Easter blessings.