New to Awards Season

Man, oh man, do I love awards!

I love getting them. Love watching them. And after this issue, I love handing them out.

Admittedly, I like the awards show for the Hosts. My head nearly exploded when Amy Poehler and Tina Fey hosted the Golden Globes for those few glorious years. I liked Chris Rock’s take on the world. Hell, I even liked how Ricky Gervais went after the celebs right in the room. I look forward to award season and the many monologues.

I love getting them too. I’ve been lucky enough to snag a couple of my own and while I’m not so much a fan of the spotlight, it is kind of cool to have everyone tell you what a good job you are doing.

I play down what I do. Occasionally it will hit me that I do in fact, run a national magazine by myself. Of course I don’t do this alone, I’ve got an army of writers behind me at this point. But I do run a national magazine that is technically international, but I’m still one of those people that thinks of email and digital things as imaginary, so if I have subscribers in England (and I do) it doesn’t register as real to me. That’s my own thing to deal with, back to the point. If you’re a new reader of the Editor’s Notes, I do this a lot, tangents. As I was saying, I am a very unserious man with a very serious job. In all honesty, this thing wasn’t supposed to be a big deal. I figured I’d do maybe two years, get a couple hundred subscribers, one or two advertisers and go back to working real jobs. I’m the guy that got fired from a newspaper job for correcting the Editor too many times. I kind of wish I had one of me lying around the office, as an Editor myself, I could use a punk kid correcting me.

So, this thing got huge on me and an unserious man got a very serious job for as long as he can keep the boat afloat. I’ve come a long way since typing away at my laptop in between customers at the Jeep dealership where I worked as a salesman. It hasn’t always been easy…it’s never been easy. There are lean times, but there are times when a goofy kid from Pennsylvania gets to drive up the Oregon coastline to cover stories. I worked my tail off to turn this idea into something that matters. (Segue coming! Wait for it.) I’m told my hard work has paid off and I’m making a difference in the world. (Here it comes!!!) That got me thinking about other former foster kids who paved their own way, beat the odds, however you’d like to word it, they made something out of nothing. (It’s here!)

I’m a big proponent of a nod to the past, keep an eye on the present, with the future always in the front of your mind. I think I just made that up. I dig it. Feels like a tattoo. (Damn ADHD) With that in mind, I thought it would be a cool idea to hand out awards to folks currently working in the foster care industry named after former foster kids who made an impact on the world, thus giving future foster kids something to strive for. (An award, not time in foster care, that would be a terrible award.)

I set out to find the former foster kids that stood out to me. I looked in all areas of the world where we had an impact. I had my pick of the litter. When you consider just how much former foster youth have added to the world, you start to get a sense that anything is possible for us. I finally decided on ten former foster kids who, I thought could inspire future generations of foster youth to strive for more than they are told they should have. I say I picked ten. Truth is, I threw myself in the mix. I feel I’ve added a certain somethin, somethin to the world in my short time here. It isn’t a boastful award, the Chris Chmielewski Got Your Back award, it’s a highlight of my one true attribute; being there for the people who matter to me. Rhonda Sciortino won that award, mainly because she’s always had my back. But you’ll read more about that soon.

I have a lot more to say but you waited a while for this double issue so I won’t keep it from you. I will say, quickly, this is a killer issue. There is a great fiction piece about a trumpet that I think is a great metaphor for foster care. There’s a first hand account of the Illinois DCFS Summit and J.D. John bares his soul to help you understand the plight of gay foster youth. And more. Lots more.

Get to it. I’ll bore you with my thoughts again next month.