There has been no greater honor in my professional life than working at Texas Monthly. I started here as an intern in 1996 while pursuing a master’s degree in literature. I had never worked in journalism before—previously I had taught special education in my hometown of Plano—and I couldn’t have imagined that that experience would lead to a full-time job, much less a career. Over the years, I’ve done many things I never would have expected: shot skeet with Greg Abbott, interviewed John Graves at his ranch, searched for the Anson light at midnight with the town’s mayor, spent a morning with first lady Laura Bush at her home in Dallas, played catch with Troy Aikman, sang a duet with Jamie Foxx, and then had the opportunity to tell stories about them all.
Texas Monthly has been my love and passion for twenty years, but this issue marks my last as editor in chief. It has been a wonderful ride, though the truth is that I don’t feel much older than 23, when I was first interviewed in the copy room of our former building at Seventh and Brazos, in Austin. My regret is that this space doesn’t afford me the chance to thank all the people—both past and present—whom I have treasured working with. Texas Monthly has been home to an incredibly talented staff who cares deeply for this state, and that helps explain why the magazine’s culture has remained intact since its founding, in 1973. But each of us also knows that without our readers, who are loyal and smart and just as passionate about Texas as we are, the magazine wouldn’t have found a home in the first place. You are happy to tell us when we do something you like, and you certainly aren’t shy about telling us when we’ve screwed up. Without that relationship, the journalism that we publish would never have had the same impact.
I do want to thank one person by name, and that is my wife, Noelle. A classic native Texan, she earned her Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin and is now a professor at Texas A&M (how about that for balance?). Without her endless support and advice, I never could have handled the demands of working here. We were newlyweds when I started; today we are the parents of two beautiful children, who can’t possibly be as old as they are. Madeline and Colin have not known their dad as anything else other than a Texas Monthly employee, but I know the magazine will always be part of me. And like our readers, I look forward to seeing what the future holds for the next generation.