Q&A with Schuyler Fisk

For our Q&A section of the magazine I wanted to feature Schuyler Fisk for the July/Aug. issue (page 18). I’m a huge Sissy Spacek and Schuyler fan. I love Schuyler in Orange County and love her music. I also just finished reading Sissy’s memoir, My Extraordinary, Ordinary Life, so I naturally gravitated towards a Q&A with Schuyler because she fits the description of the Breathe lady perfectly. She is ambitious, confident and artistic.

How to fold a newspaper, by Herm

My dad was a newsboy in the 1960s, delivering afternoon papers by bike, with a big sack strung over his shoulder and hanging at his side. Here, the old newspaper boy, my dad, shares his newspaper folding tricks.

“Newspapers are smaller, so there’s really only one way to fold now. The purpose of folding was so that papers could be tossed from the front sidewalk onto large front porches,” Herm says. “I used my bike in the summer and had to fold all the papers at the delivery corner, then put them all in my paper sack which hung on my shoulder. Then I could throw them one-by-one as I passed the houses. I became very accurate with my throws, often 50 to 75 feet. There were always some fussy people who insisted that I put the paper in their mailbox, so I had to get off my bike and walk up to the house.”

This is what my dad calls the “Herm-fold” — how he folded a newspaper back in the day:

(Paper used is the Charlottesville Daily Progress from May 25, 2012)

1. Hold the paper in front of you with both arms outstretched, with the main fold of the paper up and the headline facing away. You should be looking at the bottom half of the front page. Your left hand should hold the top fold to the right of center, and the right hand should hold the right side of the paper.

2. Using the right hand, fold the paper from right to left at about the one-fifth point. Use your right hand to crease the fold.

3. Using the right hand again, repeat the fold from right to left, making the next crease tight against the first fold.

4. Repeat again a third time. The third fold should line up with the left-hand side of the paper.

5. Open the last fold just enough to tuck the folded right-hand section into the left section in the opening under the paper’s main fold. The rolled paper should hold this position without unrolling. To tighten the roll, hold the top of the roll with your left hand and twist the roll with the palm of your right hand against the bottom of the roll.

“The roll can be tossed underhand or as a basketball hook shot,” Herm says. “The paper should stay rolled if it lands and slides on a front porch or step.”

My dad and I before hitting the slopes in Breckenridge, Colo., in March 2011.

My first and only ever cover shoot

I was organizing my bookshelves and magazine holders the other evening and came across this: the cover of Boulder Weekly’s Student Guide from Fall 2009. This was the first special section I put out as B-Dub’s special sections editor. It’s funny because I just turned 22 and still looked like a college student, so I was the cover model. Walk down memory lane. This was also the first publication I ever organized as an editor.

My parents and the society page

I’m visiting my hometown, Naples, Fla., this week for my mom’s birthday and to see my dad, Nana and Papa and aunt and uncle. The other night, Nana brought over a giant bag filled with black-and-white photographs of my mom growing up, as well as old newspaper clippings.

The newspaper clippings were from The Naples Star, a weekly newspaper in Collier County, Fla. I tried looking up the newspaper on the Library of Congress’ website, but there was no recorded date of when the newspaper was published. The newspaper clippings were from 1978 and ’79, right after my parents moved from Michigan to Naples for my Dad’s engineering job.

My parents said The Naples Star was more of a society paper, and after hearing this I just stood silently, not knowing what this meant. A society paper? What on Earth could that be? I know what alternative weeklies are, because I worked as an editor for one in my first job out of college. I know what a normal newspaper is, because I just ended my job in daily news. But a society paper — I had no idea what this was.

I Googled society news and found out the following:

• The first society page appeared in the New York Herald in 1835

• Society pages were known as “women’s pages,” and big wigs like Pulitzer wanted to attract women to newspapers by writing about stereotypical housewife stuff and social things that happened around town

• Mostly women wrote for the society section in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and that kind of journalism was considered subordinate, like women, in those days (fitting, huh?)

Back to The Naples Star. The newspaper was filled with funny commentary and it chronicled my parents’ social life in the late ’70s. One of the articles was dedicated to a Halloween party where my parents won the “most ridiculous costume” award for their amazing resemblance to Saturday Night Live’s “The Coneheads,” thanks to my mom’s great artistic ability in creating conehead caps. My dad says their cones were so tall that they had to take the top off the convertible so they could fit in the car, and driving down 5th Avenue in Naples, pedestrians were chiming “Look! There go the Coneheads!”

Other stories were about volleyball tournaments my parents threw at Admiralty Point, where my Nana and Papa’s old condo was located or friends’ parties they attended in Port Royal. Another story was about my dad accepting a job as project manager with CH2M Hill.

I enjoyed reading Naples’ old society paper. The language is lively and entertaining and the pictures of my parents made me laugh out loud (not in a bad way, Mom and Dad). After stepping away from two jobs with newspapers, I see how papers have gotten smaller and smaller and can no longer fit in much society, community and small-town content. It’s great reading these old stories though. Makes me appreciate the small-town perspective. Also makes me appreciate how entertaining my parents are.

Dear Martha,

Dear Martha,

I like you. I like you a lot. I like you like I like the way your butter cream cupcakes taste. Or your succulent turkey roast — or those rosemary potatoes. Mmmm … I like you like I like your food.

Every day your Omnimedia ads taunt me from a feed on the side of my LinkedIn profile. Every day I click them, hoping a job I’m qualified for will pop up. No — every time I click on your perfect, little blue logo I just see available internships. I’m thinking I should apply for one. I’ll do anything for you Martha — even if it means backtracking just for an internship with your company.

I want to be your intern. Martha, I want you to be my mentor. Every morning before work, I will delightfully French press your coffee and then top it off with fresh, organic goats milk and raw sugar. I will bring it to you with a smile on my face and say, “Martha, can I get you anything? A ball of yarn and some knitting needles? Perhaps a whisk so we can whisk away our worries? Show me the best of my Cuisinart! Martha — how about we go to the park and walk our Chows and then skip through a field of wildflowers that we later will collect and make a centerpiece arrangement out of!” You will calmly nod, and in your nonchalant voice say, “Why yes, Marissa. In good time,” because you are my mentor and that’s what mentors do.

The other day I tuned in to your show to find you hallowing out a canoe with a pickaxe. I jumped up and sped across the room to get a better look see. Wow. To see you carve and wield that axe.

As I kid, I used to watch your show while I ate breakfast in the mornings. You taught me how to make a water garden with aquatic soil, plants — even a fish to boot! I took notes as I watched you lovingly plant papyrus in sandy soil and top it off with river rock. I made my mom take me to the Home Depot so I could get all the ingredients for my water garden. Boy, did that add up. I came home and did exactly what you said. I lined an oversized pot with sheeting, poured in my aquatic soil, lovingly planted the papyrus and two other plants, topped them off with river rock and filled it with water. Voila! I ran down to the Pet SuperMarket and bought my scum-eating fish to live in the shallow little oasis. My fish ended up committing suicide by jumping out of the pot and frying itself in the harsh Florida heat, and the papyrus outgrew the pot very quickly and we had to plant it in the backyard. But, it was great while it lasted.

When I was in middle school, I bought one of your Christmas craft books. I decided to make stockings for my Nana and Papa. I got out our old 1980s Singer and slaved over those things for days, perfecting the stitching, adding little extras such as tassels and fishing bobbers. I think they are now packed away in a box somewhere …

In high school I saw you make a letter-shaped wreath out of Styrofoam and decided I would make one too. I carved an “H” (for Hermanson) into a giant white block of Styrofoam. I remember my brother’s friend coming over and asking me what I was doing out on the back patio. “I’m making a Hermanson wreath!” I proclaimed and went back to sawing away Styrofoam chunks. After cutting out that big, ‘ol “H,” I took blue silk hydrangea petals (not real petals — I wanted this thing to last!) and stuck them into the entire thing. I got some fancy ribbon for hanging and brought it to my mom. She told me I could hang it upstairs, outside the guest bedroom, in the hall, where no one goes. “Great!” I cheered and ran upstairs to mount it on the wall.

I love you, Martha. I love everything about your show, magazine and books. I love that you took the idea of domestic and marketed it, creating an empire for yourself. I would like to be a part of your empire, even if that means I’m a minion intern. I would love to be your intern, Martha. Will you be my mentor?