In the many conversations that Bronwyn Beairsto and I had about life as a newspaper editor on Bowen Island, one thing that struck me was her belief in islanders’ willingness to forgive. It may come as a surprise to social media followers who have grown accustomed to acerbic online commentary but, time and time again, she felt blessed by the community’s willingness to forgive her of her journalistic sins. She said that when the community knows you’re trying your best, and that your mistakes are clearly unintentional, people might get upset by your wrongdoings but they will never lose faith that next week things will be better.
She believed in Bowen Island as much as Bowen Island believed in her.
There will be many times over the next few weeks when I too will have to rely on the community’s understanding. Stories won’t get posted to the website as quickly or as often as they should. I might not be able to handle everyone’s story requests. I won’t know the answers to every question. But I am trying to uphold the very high standards that Bronwyn set.
Alex Kurial will also be grateful for a little bit of patience when he settles into his new role as the Undercurrent’s next editor. He’s in the midst of packing up his life in Ontario and will set off in his car for a solo drive across half a continent this weekend. (Let’s hope there are no road closures from natural disasters to have to deal with.)
He’s already impressed by what Bronwyn has told him about Bowen Island. The two met at Carleton University in Ottawa and their paths converged again when they were both interns at the Vancouver Courier. They share an innate curiosity, a love of people and a willingness to challenge themselves to embrace new experiences. They’ve each stepped outside their comfort zone numerous times and while the anxiety never leaves them, they won’t let their fears get prevent them from discovering what the world has in store for them.
Meanwhile, I am deeply grateful for all the support the community showed me after my story last week about the grief of leaving Bowen and the grief of coming back. I had questioned the wisdom of stepping back into work when I have many other responsibilities and emotions to contend with. However, once I was back on the island I realized I had to be here. I needed to reconnect with the place that held so many happy memories. Thank you.
Martha Perkins, interim editor