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Editor’s Letter for December 2023/January 2024

Photography by Jesse Rieser

In old-timey movies from the 20th century, scenes showing a writer immersed in the creative process always included a typewriter (a primitive device that had individually lettered keys that hammered against a sheet of paper). The author would invariably start strong, teeth clenched on a gnarled pencil, nodding as the sentences formed on the page. Then, realizing the words were all wrong, our hero would dramatically rip the paper from the machine, wad it up and toss it across the room to a trash can overflowing with similarly crumpled refuse. 

Such was my experience writing the page that you are reading now. How to sum up the year? Should I go the usual “magic of the season” route? Haul out one of the venerable “true meaning of Christmas” bits? Ignore the joyous season altogether? Something in between? I was at a loss on how to make it fresh.

We went to press on this issue right before Thanksgiving. It occurred to me that I may never have given proper thanks (in print) for the unbelievable bounty that has come my way in the 50+ issues since I was honored with—and humbled by—the title of editor in chief of the farthest-reaching, most respected shelter magazine in the Southwest. 

At the risk of sounding like a sap, I want to take this opportunity to unreservedly gush over:

• The small but mighty Phoenix Home & Garden staff. Art director Leonard Loria and senior executive editor Lauren Tyda, I am overwhelmingly grateful for your tireless energy, creativity and razor-sharp bantering skills. You are my favorite foils in our daily battle of wits and repartee.

• The entire Cities West Media family, especially our leader, Brett Wilson, who trusted I’d be good at this.
• Our contributing writers and photographers who make us look and sound spectacular, issue after issue.

• The community of Arizona artists, architects, builders, interior designers, landscape architects and designers. We love you for so enthusiastically sharing your passions with us and trusting us with your stories.

• The individuals and companies who support us through advertising and sponsorships. We are proud to share our pages with you and thank you for helping us keep the lights on.
• Our readers. We thank you for embracing our vision, welcoming us into your homes, for telling us you love what we’re doing and letting us know how we can be even better.
I see now that it’s impossible to commit all my gratitude to one page, and that in itself is pretty cool. In the last five years, there have been thousands of moments when I have paused and realized how fortunate I am to have landed where I am. I knew this would be a lot of responsibility. I hoped I’d be able to pull it off. I never guessed it would be this much fun.

God bless us, every one.

John Roark
Editor in chief


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