The first story I submitted to my creative-writing professor during my sophomore year of college garnered a C-. I was completely deflated. Suddenly the writing career I was so sure of didn’t seem right for me at all. After summoning my courage to hear Professor Liu’s criticism of my work, I went to his office to discuss my grade. I’ll never forget what he said to me: "Write about what you love, and speak from the heart." I followed his advice; my final grade in the class was an A.
When I started with eco-structure in September 2003, as the fourth issue was going to press, I didn’t realize what an effect the magazine would have on my life. I was hired as an associate editor, but three months into my tenure, John Riester, publisher, asked me if I was ready to be editor in chief. The ambitious part of me couldn’t say no, but I was only beginning to learn about green building and I had never managed a magazine before. That first year, sleepless nights and Maalox were my constant companions.
However, it wasn’t long before I found my stride. I soon discovered how willing industry experts were to impart their knowledge, and I think the magazine continually improved under their guidance. I soon found myself traveling around the country, meeting architects and other building professionals, and touring their buildings. I realized there was not a better industry from which to learn. Everyone I met was eager to learn from others, just as I was. It soon became impossible to hear their stories without becoming more environmentally minded myself.
Although there always were challenges and sometimes harsh criticisms, my stomachaches and sleepless nights disappeared. Suddenly, the green-building industry was my passion, and I became known as a green guru—and some less-flattering nicknames—to my friends and family. No matter what they called me, I realized I was incredibly fortunate to edit and write about what I loved while making a small difference in the world. I had achieved what Professor Liu recommended so many years before.
Therefore, it is with mixed emotions that I tell you this is my last issue with the magazine. I want to thank all of you who have read, supported and contributed to these pages during my tenure. Although this is good-bye, I will never forget what I have learned, and I always will appreciate the amazingly talented people who took me under their wings to help make this magazine successful. I'm speaking from the heart when I say the green-building industry has made a lasting impression on me. Eco-structure has changed me for the better.