One morning in the late 1990's I stood in front of a full refrigerator — hungry and terrified. With a positive pregnancy test on the counter, snatches of long-avoided information vied for dominance in my thoughts. Until that moment I'd successfully shunned every bit of health- and earth-conscious advice I'd heard. I scanned the shelves and realized that there was literally nothing there that I was willing to eat. For the first time, what I put into my body mattered.
I drove to our local supermarket, and braved the unfamiliar "health-food" section. With a supply of organic produce, I made a salad for my lunch. It tasted good — noticeably better. I felt good too: happy, hopeful.
Even with this positive reinforcement, and a driving desire to help create a better world for our unborn child, I realized that I still couldn't focus on the information my parents and other activist friends sent. I would reluctantly begin to read an article, only to toss it aside after a few minutes. At best I found the material confusing and contradictory — overall it was depressing and overwhelming.
Then one day a magazine arrived on my doorstep. Written by a single mom from New York City and full of practical advice from her own life experience, it was called A Real Life. Intrigued with her stories, I was drawn to the information she shared. I read it cover-to-cover, and promptly ordered all the back-issues. The changes she inspired made a difference in the quality of my life, and I looked forward to more. Then, unexpectedly, she stopped publishing her magazine to write a book. I searched in vain for a replacement.
A year later my contractor husband took an icy fall, ripping the ligaments in his ankle. He was told by his surgeon to stay off his ladders for at least six months. With him home to care for our girls, a door opened for me and I knew what I wanted to do: publish my own inspirational magazine. I launched The Polishing Stone.
That was early 2004, and if I had a dozen apples for every time someone told me that the Internet has replaced the indy press, I could have set up a premium cider shop and retired off the proceeds. Their arguments sound compelling: most folks are actively trimming their expenses, in our busy culture no one has time to read magazines, and, tree issue aside, isn't print going the way of VHS? I could add that newsstand has become increasingly unstable, and mailed introductory-subscription offers have dropped below $10, while distribution prices continue to rise. (The recent postal-rate hike was disproportionately tough on smaller presses: The largest circulation titles actually save on postage, while our own mailing costs have increased by 18 percent.)
Ask any of your favorite independents — it is hard. Every subscription, gift, back-issue set and donation is a cause for celebration, each covering an essential expense. Would I have begun if I'd known how hard it would be? Like marriage and motherhood, publishing has pushed me past my limits. On late nights spent reconciling plans with reality, a standard 9-5 job certainly has an appeal.
A reader recently told me that we are a haven in her life — free of judgment, full of hope. She'd called to buy a gift for a colleague, and as she spoke about her favorite articles from The Polishing Stone, she took me back through the years of good work we'd done. I was warmed by her appreciation and by feeling so intimately the inspiration our magazine has brought to her. Then I remembered: This is why. This is what makes it all worthwhile.
I hope you enjoy The Polishing Stone...
All my best,
Kylie Loynd, Founder and Publisher