By Jim McCloskey
After a long, satisfying run, this will be the last blog I’ll write for WaterShapes: With the next edition of this newsletter on April 8, that’s a privilege I’ll transfer to Eric Herman with gratitude and best wishes.
While I have this chance, I have some additional thanks to express:
q To my family, patient with me as I’ve ridden the roller-coaster of a lengthening print- and digital-publishing career: You’ve kept me grounded, focused and happy through thick and thin, and my love for you all – and especially you, Judy – is both deep and boundless.
q To Vance Gillette, my good friend and co-conspirator since the 1980s: You are the one who, more than anyone else, convinced me that my impulse to start working toward the launch of WaterShapes back in 1998 was exactly the right thing to do at exactly the right time.
q To the late Jules Field, who taught me enough about the granular details of publishing in my tenure with Pool & Spa News that I was ready to start WaterShapes when its time came – and enough about living that I know it’s time for me to start passing the reins to others.
q To David Tisherman, who gave unstintingly of his time and had a level of dedication to WaterShapes’ success that was consistently startling: Yes, you were arrogant and spiky, but your generosity and willingness to share were simply awesome and extraordinary.
q To Skip Phillips: Your persistence in shaping a vision for what you defined as a new, parallel industry helped keep me focused, while your occasional desire to make my magazine more responsive to that definition kept me very much on my toes.
q To Brian Van Bower, whom I’ve long considered to be my best friend in the watershaping industry: I appreciate your efforts through nearly 35 years to help me see the ongoing value of enjoying life – and of doing so in grand and exuberant style.
q To all of the advertisers who supported the magazine for nearly 13 years and particularly those who have sustained WaterShapes.com through the past ten: Your faith in what we are and what we’re still accomplishing have been marvelous sources of encouragement.
q To the hundreds of watershapers who have shared their work, attitudes and philosophies in the form of articles, columns and commentaries we’ve published through the years: Your willingness to participate, your incredible trust in us, brings tears to my eyes.
q To Dave Peterson and Bill Drakeley, who gave me so much joy by asking me to add WaterShapes.com to the Watershape University family. It was a bold move, and ambitious – but it was also just the right move for reasons that are already becoming apparent.
I could go on like this for pages and drop hundreds of worthy names: You know who you are, old friends and new, and that you’re all part of the grand, extended family we’ve fostered since the first edition of WaterShapes appeared in February 1999. I am indebted to you all in incalculable ways and have always enjoyed your support, counsel, suggestions and participation – and even your occasional scolding.
Please indulge me for a moment and allow me to double back to my friend and colleague Eric Herman: You and I worked together from 1989 through 2011 and I had long thought that would be it, that we’d never have the chance to rekindle the flame that made our collaboration burn so brightly for so many years. Thanks for coming aboard again, compadre – and best wishes as you slide back onto a chair I’ve done my best to keep warm for you through the past nine years.
I’m also happy to mention that I have a new chair waiting for me: Dave Peterson, Bill Drakeley and Lauren Stack have insisted on plunking me into it because they have a sense that I should share with them and Eric what I’ve learned about watershaping through 35 years of close observation.
As I take this comfortable seat, let me assure you all that I am both old and wise enough to take a giant step back and will watch with restraint as the new team puts its own stamp on WaterShapes.com. I also have to say it’ll be a relief to move behind the scenes again after what has been, for me, too long a run in the spotlight.
So know that this is about my need to express thanks at a time of major transitions, not a farewell. I’ll most definitely see you around – and suggest you keep your eyes open in weeks to come: To say Eric will hit the ground running is a grand understatement!