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The Publisher | A Letter from Jimmy Dean
I imagine every one of us has, at one time or another, received a rejection letter. It may have come in the form of a “Dear John” or “Dear Jane” letter from an unrequited love affair. Or perhaps a letter advising you that you are not getting that hard-fought-for promotion at work. Or even the dreaded “pink slip” of downsizing – something so prevalent in the last decade prior to today’s economic surge. Rejection letters can produce many emotions. Dejection, anger and angst. Or they can provide inspiration, the motivation to keep pushing, keep trying – even the proper inspiration to fully realize your place in the world.
I was once profoundly motivated by a rejection letter. It was the mid-1980s, and I was publisher of SARASOTA Magazine. The prolific mystery and crime novelist John D. McDonald lived nearby on Siesta Key and our editors thought it would be a real coup if we could convince him to let us photograph and do a photo essay of his home in an upcoming issue featuring notable homes and gardens. Our magazine had earned a reputation of excellence and we all thought he would jump at the invitation and be honored and happy to share his home with our readers.
We were disappointed to receive his rejection letter.
“Dear Friends, while my wife and I are honored and humbled at your invitation to feature our modest home in your quality magazine, we must decline the offer. Seldom does the hermit crab remove its shell to allow examination of its contents.”
My motivation was instant. “One day” I thought, “I want to be able to express my feelings in words as succinctly and poetically as he does!”
Obviously, I never accomplished anything close to Mr. McDonald’s station in the literary world but, in some small measure, I do think the magazines I have had the great fortune to work on for the past 40 years have touched the residents of Southwest Florida with some emotion and feelings, stirring a soul here and there. Our editors are the best in the business and each issue is a real labor of love for all of us.
Welcome to our HOME and GARDEN Annual. Our most sincere thanks to Tom and Mary Ann Stamilio, Amanda Brashear and Andrew Mardis, and Aaron Diaz for removing the shell, so to speak, and allowing us inside your homes – and to Dolly Tomalinas and Kathy Frazier for guiding us through your truly inspirational gardens.
We hope you enjoy the issue – we have sure enjoyed creating it for you!