Editor’s Letter: Destiny’s Crapshoot

Commemorating 40 years as ”The Magazine of Orange County”
Illustration by John Ueland

The opening and closing scenes of the 1994 Robert Zemekis film “Forrest Gump” revolve around a single white feather—OK, a computer-generated feather—drifting on currents of air before alighting on the foot of Tom Hanks’ title character. The director used it as a metaphor for what co-star Gary Sinise later summarized as: “Destiny is a crapshoot.”

As luck would have it, I went to see that movie at a critical moment in my life. I’d taken a day off from my writing job at The Orange County Register for a morning interview with the then-publisher of Orange Coast, and I had an afternoon to kill. The interview went well, and she’d offered me the chance to edit her magazine. I’m not the type to find deep meaning in popcorn movies, but by the time I emerged from the theater, Forrest Gump’s white feather had taken on a powerful meaning for me. I’d decided to roll the dice on a new career.

My first stint in this chair lasted more than three years, until January 1998. Then, after a nearly 10-year hiatus to write books and edit another magazine, I followed that feather back to Orange Coast in 2007 and I’ve been here ever since. And while that may sound like a long time, the magazine has been here 40 years this month. In an industry in which some publications have the lifespan of a Kardashian marriage, that’s nothing short of a miracle—something I’ve thought about as we put together our feature “Four Decades of O.C.” I can’t help but see a bit of destiny in its longevity, and I’m proud to have played a small part in its proud history. Orange Coast’s success is proof of the phenomenal growth of the county, the loyalty of its readers and advertisers, the savvy of its publishers and sales team, and the vision of its writers, editors, photographers, and designers.

True, Lieutenant Dan, destiny is a crapshoot. But sometimes the dice roll just right.

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