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How to Be a Non-Texan

Advice for our former web editor.

By April 2017Comments

Photograph by Jeff Wilson

Texas Monthly’s staff suffered a terrible blow in late February, when Andrea Valdez, the editor of texasmonthly.com, announced that she would be leaving to become editor of Wired magazine’s website. Valdez, who started here as a fact checker in 2006, is perhaps best known to our readers as the author of the Manual, a long-running column on how to be a Texan, which she turned into a book last year for University of Texas Press. To her colleagues, though, she is treasured for her caustic wit, her freakish pen-twirling abilities, and her devotion to all things Guns N’ Roses.

Though Dre (as everyone here calls her, much to her dismay) will gamely soldier on without us, her greatest challenge will no doubt be learning to survive outside of not just Texas Monthly but her native Texas; her new gig requires her to move to San Francisco. To help her make her way, we asked a handful of ex-staffers to offer some advice on how to live a life post–Texas Monthly and post-Texas.

How to survive post–Texas Monthly? I’ve been taking my cues from the “Big Book of Andrea Valdez Wisdom,” which I had the pleasure of studying, up close and personal, during my many years of working with its author. The most helpful nugget of counsel thus far? As Dre likes to say, “Be the squirrel.” Though you’ll have to figure out for yourself what, exactly, that means.
—former director of editorial operations Stacy Hollister

Travel. It will help you realize what a wonderful, unique place Texas is and how much Texas Monthly helped to put your vision of this piece of geography in perspective.
—former associate editor Valerie Wright

Don’t forget to eat and sleep. And remember that many problems actually do solve themselves. So if you cannot find a solution for one problem, then turn and work on a second one, while you give the first one a chance to solve itself. Sometimes the problem turns out to be the solution. That’s when you know you have reached the next level.
—former associate editor David Moorman

As you prepare to depart the best little magazine in Texas, a couple of things to bear in mind: BYO Topo. Turns out, not all magazine offices stock their fridges with an endless supply of Mexico’s finest mineral water. Also, you will never, ever again have a colleague who’s as fine a two-stepping partner as the Texanist.
—former copy editor Jessie Hunnicutt, copy editor at the New Yorker

Invest in unlimited texting. (It’ll be like you never left.)
—former associate editor Francesca Mari, senior editor at the California Sunday Magazine

Don’t feel guilty about never having had lunch with that one co-worker.
—former associate editor John Broders

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