“This is the end. Beautiful friend. This is the end.”
So sang Jim Morrison. About what, I’m not sure – The Doors are bad and I refuse to google their lyrics – but those 10 words nevertheless came to mind while I was putting the final touches on Smith Journal volume 33.
Why? Well this, beautiful friend, is the end of Smith Journal.*
That’s right: after eight years, a small forest’s worth of paper and 792 (I counted) articles about people doing things “the old way”, we’re hanging up our leather aprons. Resheathing our lumberjacks’ axes. Disassembling our typewriters and hurling them into the Mariana Trench. What I mean to say is, we’re not making any more Smith Journals. The inkwells have run dry. The nibs have fallen off our fountain pens. The printing presses have, figuratively and literally, ground to a halt.
I’ll spare you the details – it’s an ad revenue problem, if you want to know – and focus instead on something more befitting a final editor’s letter: pseudo-intellectual rumination. The fact is, everything – careers, relationships, beloved pet cats named Pedro – everything comes to an end. There’s not a single thing that won’t. Even time, that most eternal-seeming of concepts, will eventually cease to exist, at which point it will be as if nothing ever existed. But Smith Journal did exist, and, assuming you're reading this on a mobile device, you are holding in your hands the final evidence of that fact.
When our founders set out to make the first Smith Journal back in 2011, they had a pretty good idea of who they imagined reading it. “This magazine is for anyone interested in the world,” they wrote. “For anyone who has been out there living life and not just studying it from afar. For anyone who understands that you build things with your hands, but also your mind, too.”
For 33 volumes and countless blog posts, we built Smith Journal with our hands and our minds, and – barring a few deadline-induced migraines – we’ve enjoyed every minute of it. We hope you did, too.
* Or at least, the end of Smith Journal for the foreseeable future. The official line is that the magazine is being “rested”, which, if you continue the metaphor, means it could “wake up” from its “nap of indeterminate length” at some point down the track. Could happen. You never know.
Photo: Tim Mossholder