September Editors’ Note: Once Upon a Time…

Hypothetically, grandiose plans for a newspaper combined with limited Wi-Fi make for a fascinating summer. Meetings might occur in which the orchestrating senior editor finds herself unable to hear or speak. One editor might put a sleepless night of work into a website, only to have another take it out of commission for 1.5 days by adding an extra “2” to the site’s coding. The three editors might rush breathlessly home after a summer abroad only to realize on the fourth day of school that they have an editor’s note to write before the next day’s publication but no brilliant ideas for a topic. This is precisely the situation in which editors of dirt magazine Raylene Van Loser, Hayle Dead, and Jacques Puddles found themselves late one August 31st.

The efforts they had made already were tremendous. Hayle remembers the day she was no longer sure they would make it: “It was halfway through orientation week. I had somehow managed to be chosen to announce the name change to incoming staff at their orientations, despite the fact that I was the one Westcoaster on the senior editor squad, making the orientations 6am my time. I was half-asleep on the front porch explaining, ‘You actually don’t work for The Scarred Vessel Magazine anymore–’ when VROOMHONKBEEEEEEEEPP, the sounds of a semi crash through from the nearby highway, interrupting my announcement! I was sure these exceptional writers would think they had no position, cut off all contact, and leave us without a staff two weeks before our first publication.” Next, Jacques’ worst nightmare occurred when pictures refused to align in the center of the page. “I tried so hard. So hard. They kept jumping to the left, to the left, to the left, every. single. time. On the verge of breaking, I had to give up and make the photos insanely huge to at least create the illusion of a centered photo. So now there’s this huge picture of Johnny’s face in his bio, and it scares people when it pops up on their screen with that evil grin, like it’s saying, ‘BOO, think you could keep me in the middle, eh? WELL, YOU COULDN’T!’ It’s not my fault, I promise. It’s those tricksy little pictureses, they moved when we told them not to, tricksy, tricksy pictureses…” Meanwhile, Raylene battled the extra “2” in the coding long and hard with the help of two programmers. Once her favorite number, she could no longer stand the sight of the second digit after hours of the hopeless error message she’d memorized popping up with every fix she tried making: “Parse error: syntax error, unexpected ‘2’ (T_….” Her mind plagued with 2’s and parsing errors, she could barely sleep at night–but the staff bios were published notwithstanding, and the relief was palpable.

Would their blood, sweat, and tears be for naught? Would all be lost when readers realized the Senior Editors had nothing of substance to give them? No moral to teach, no word of encouragement, no inspiring thought?

But the day was not over, and time yet remained. Inspired by the wisdom of their valiant Arts & Culture writers, they learned the art of creativity. Raquelle Shane had written a lovely article on poetry, and Lee Anne Draweree’s photography gave them motivation to build a perspective of persevering and finding beauty in everything. Tan Gethan provided entertainment suggestions for their tired minds, while Jennica Choo restored their faith in humanity with a little girl singing Disney songs to her dad. Editors Pied Piper and Liam Hurts organized the section without hiccups, and all was ready for publication days before the issue was released.

Raylene, Hayle, and Jacques might have felt like they were barely staying afloat in this magazine production world, but reading through these first articles reminded them of their roots. They looked back on their first days with the ezine interviewing teachers and editing sports articles and were filled with a quiet joy as each layer of roots in the dirt were exposed to them one by one. They saw the years of editors and writers and staff members that had come before them and were reminded that they faced nothing more than what those who came before them had.

So take courage, Sculptor’s School students, for nothing you face this year will be more than you can handle. There is a cloud of witnesses (can we get an amen, college freshman?), and you run a well-trodden path. The Lord gives grace for every task–look to Him for all you need!

Wishing you the best this school year,
Raylene Van Loser, Hayle Dead, & Jacques Puddles


Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.                                                       1 Corinthians 9:26


  1. Dear Raylene Van Loser, Hayle Dead, and Jacques Puddles,
    A HUGE thank you to each of you for all the work that you put into /dirt/ and for the tremendous helps you have given to each of the staff members, especially this newbie right here =) And creating an online magazine without wifi is ridiculous, but you did it! You have already molded /clay/ so creatively…may it never crack 😉

  2. I love this, thank you guys for all your hard work! The Pied Piper approves. 😀

    • By the time we got to your name, I didn’t have much creativity left. Maybe we can recreate the hashtag so that it’s #TeamPiedPiper? But on a serious note, y’all really do make this thing possible. 🙂 Thanks!

  3. Dear Raylene Van Loser, Hayle Dead, and Jacques Puddles,

    I would like to second Hannah Lin’s HUGE thank you. Not a day goes by where I do not think “wow, our senior editors have so much on their plate–my email is just another thing added on top.” Nervously, I send the email and am pleasantly surprised at how even after the fatigue and numerous hiccups, you are ALWAYS there to help this new girl with her many scatter-brained thoughts 🙂

  4. Oh man, editors notes are awesome…

  5. Dear Raylene Van Loser and the other editors,

    We so appreciate all your hard work!! Approved by Jennica Choo (that’s not far from how my russian violin teacher pronounces my first name xD)