March 1, 2022 will mark two years of publication here at The Austin Independent. Given the upcoming birthday, or anniversary, I want to thank the readers out there who have helped keep us alive that long. Especially thank you to everyone who has offered tips, suggestions, story ideas and kind notes — or even unkind notes. You mean a whole lot to me.
I also want to take the occasion to let readers know that at some point, not too long after the two year mark, I am going to begin a break from publishing for three to six months. This will be a period of relaxation, assessment, contemplation, and devoting more time to enjoying retirement. Before taking the hiatus I will do some post primary election analysis. Plus, I have a few other stories in the works which may or may not wait until after the break.
Beyond just wanting a little time off, part of what’s driving this is that I realize my time is short. I don’t mean I’m going to die soon. And, I don’t mean that the Independent is going away. At least I don’t think that either of those is the case. I am, however, 68-years-old and have had a long run here in Austin, and in Austin governance and politics. I want to continue being a contributing citizen of Austin while also having time to enjoy my retirement years. I have certainly managed to pack some of the latter into the last two years. During the upcoming respite, however, I plan to contemplate how I can contribute the most while also more fully enjoying retirement.
Consequently, I will return with some changes to the Independent. For instance I am considering perhaps less frequent publication with a focus on a few major local issues. I also want to write some Austin history (especially over the last 50 years) with a focus on how that is relevant today. Another set of stories I want to do is profiles of people who have played major roles in Austin, but have not gotten much notice. All of the above would be supplemented with periodic True Stories columns to report and comment on issues as they arise. Those are just ideas under consideration and I will likely come up with more ideas during the break. This is all about continuing to improve the product. It’s also about continuing to expand the Independent’s readership, which will be critical to how long I keep doing it.
I would appreciate any advice, input or suggestions folks may have on those topics or any other.
In closing I want to thank my wife of 31 years Adela Mancías for her skill, patience, toughness and kindness in editing every one of my articles; and for reeling me in when I got too far out there. If at times I didn’t get reeled in far enough that was my fault, not hers. It helps that Adela and I have long shared core values and ideals and that we both love our chosen home town of Austin. She moved here in 1974 and I arrived in 1976. (Photo at top is of Adela Mancías and Daryl Slusher and was taken in 2017 by Daryl.)
I also want to thank Jasmy Liu who is the closest the Independent has come to having staff. She has served as a graphic art consultant to us and has also offered ongoing and invaluable skill in web publishing. Thank you so much Jasmy. Thanks also to our 2020 intern Bismarck Andino for publishing several strong articles for us and for connecting us with Jasmy as he departed.
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