I became the editor of Texas Monthly in January 1981. Since then I have written 203.5 Behind the Lines columns. (Paul Burka and I were co-authors of one column.) This one is my last. I am stepping down as editor on June 30 to return to a career as a writer. I will remain on the staff of Texas Monthly as a writer-at-large, and I intend to write articles for other magazines and books as well.
Over the years I’ve had ideas for things I wanted to write, but they passed after a while. Lately, though, the ideas have taken a tenacious hold. I have found myself thinking about them often. I knew I would never complete a single one if I remained the editor of Texas Monthly, but I didn’t want to leave behind a job that still excited me and staff members who are not only colleagues but also friends. But at 55 years of age, I realized that if I didn’t change my work now, I might never change. I would regret it and wonder why I hadn’t. So, happily and sadly, I’m here to say good-bye.
The new editor will be Evan Smith, who is currently the deputy editor. He came to Texas Monthly in 1991. He left in February 1994 to be the deputy editor of The New Republic but returned in September of the same year. Evan is a supremely talented editor, who has been a fountain of ideas. He has sought out and developed new writers. And he has improved, even transformed, stories with his editing touch. On July 1 he will become only the third editor in Texas Monthly’s 28-year history. He is the right person for the job, and I’m sure Texas Monthly will improve in every way under his guidance.
Very few editors have served continuously at one publication for as long as I have. I want to thank the many readers of Texas Monthly for your loyalty and support over the years. Without it, nothing else would have mattered. After all, it is you we are working for.
The reason I have been