to the Editor
(Later, Friend....A Modest Short-Term Farewell
Feb. 14, 2001
month's commentary will focus on the upcoming departure of a local
publishing icon & arts patron -- Brian MacMillan. Why is Mr. MacMillan
so important as to warrant an article from FreedomWriter? BMAC,
as he is affectionately called by his peers, friends, & business
associates, was an inspiration to me, believe it or not!
I spent some time surfing the internet at a local internet cafe
over 2 years ago, there was this long-haired (Afro-style) young
man dressed in Northwest Casual Punk (I can't think of a better
term for today's young people's attire but there probably is one)
attire who also frequented the same soup & sandwich & cyber saloon
in downtown Anchorage. He could be seen frantically inputting "whatever"
into those Macintoshes at such a blistering "hunt-and-peck" pace
that I figured his stubby fingers would end up in bandages no doubt
applied by any of the occasional nice looking women who would assist
him in doing such clerk-typist labor. "Man," I thought, "how could
he afford those hourly rates at the keyboard?" Later I discovered
he was the Editor & Publisher of AK VERVE, "Alaska's Freaky Fanzine",
a quarterly publication highlighting the local arts scene that also
gave space to any local writer or artist with something to tell
or to show. Well, BMAC was doing his inputting around his deadline
while I was researching the scandals & corruption of the Clinton-Gore
Administration on the world wide web.
perusing his quarterlies, I would also see him at many of the local
clubs reviewing musicians, or other live stage performances, or
concerts, or art exhibitions, or related arts projects. He would
critique them in his articles that I read in the AK VERVE or the
ANCHORAGE PRESS. Or he could be seen helping honcho an outdoor concert
in Chickaloon, Alaska, of all places (but it's COOL MAN, COOL!).
He was a man of action getting the word out about the arts when
the only local daily newspaper monopoly (and owned Outside of Alaska)
would just stick to its high priced advertisements & self-proclaimed
music or arts critics that wrote like they never were even at the
events much less only covering a fraction of what he did. He would
manage the AK VERVE on a shoestring budget, soliciting ads for each
issue, laying out the final draft of his hard-copy quarterly, getting
it to the printer, & then organizing a distribution party in his
apartment that would make make the riders of the Pony Express or
the drivers of the Wells Fargo stagecoaches jealous when using his
editorial & publishing style was OPEN. No article or artwork was
too good or too bad or too controversial for the AK VERVE. That's
the First Amendment in action! That's what inspired me.
I transferred my researching skills, tired eyes, & even more tired
stubby fingers (no bandages yet for me....I took typing in high
school, ha ha) to a different level after BMAC started to do his
AK VERVE on-line. His quarterly was now being published on the internet!
Now I could have two outlets for my articles locally: His hard-copy
quarterly & his on-line publication of the same name. So let's make
it three for me while we are at it. I will start my own website,
too! After going through the channels of getting my site's domain
name registered & conceiving the design of my first website, I gave
birth to FREEDOMWRITER.COM, with the motherly help of my first website
technician/producer Suzzy who also performed similar technical midwifery
roles for BMAC's AK VERVE prior to his website. Besides sharing
Suzzy's computer wizardry, BMAC and I probably also shared the stretch
marks of growth, but I confess to never have seen him anything but
took about a year off to travel the world while I expanded FREEDOM
WRITER. I would continue to submit my articles to Denise, the internet
angel who provided nursing assistance to BMAC's on-line version
whilst he was away & I would continue to write my commentaries until
I outgrew my first website motherlode. Denise became my website
baby's new nurse, as well. My site grew & grew & changed appearances.
What was in the milk in your bottle, Denise? I recall Jackie Gleason's
famous line in between his television scenes after supping from
his cup & saucer: "How sweet it is!"
came back to revive the AK VERVE & take a full time job, or two.
He was also scheduling community activity calendars for the ANCHORAGE
PRESS & another recreational magazine in Anchorage. Then the word
came forth: He will pass the reigns & torch of the AK VERVE to a
new generation while he would go forth to teach English in South
Korea for a year. I understand the necessity of having money in
your pocket, for a change. One can do more with some money than
one can do with no money (That's another reason why we need lower
taxes, so we can keep more of our money to spend on those things
we need or want to do, so that we can stay as independent & self-
sufficient as possible).
& I shared some similar interests & political beliefs. BMAC & I
also might have not shared some interests & political beliefs. But
BMAC & I do wholeheartedly agree on the necessity of the FIRST AMENDMENT.
I have many parting wishes for you, before you return to Alaska's
largest city to continue what I know is near & dear to your heart:
EXPOSING THE ARTS. While in South Korea, I wish you success in teaching
your students the proper methods of good English. Please don't forget
to tell our allies in Asia that, whatever faults & problems America
& its citizens may have, America & its citizens LOVE FREEDOM. While
you teach them good grammar, please teach them that FREEDOM IS NOT
FREE as many have died & still stand ready to protect our liberties.
While you teach them good punctuation, please teach them that FREEDOM
& INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY GO TOGETHER like the "yin & yang" they
understand. While you teach them proper syntax, please teach them
that our way of life is preserved through our understanding & use
of our Declaration of Independence & Constitution & Bill of Rights
& other Documents of Freedom & RESPECT FOR THE LAW. While you teach
them correct spelling, please teach them that our morals, values,
& RIGHTS COME NOT FROM GOVERNMENT but from a Higher Power, a Creator
that encompasses all of us, a Great Spirit that breathes through
all of us. Brian, you can teach those South Koreans a lot about
our language & a lot about America, our people, & our history.
I end my commentary with some Spanish words: "Luego, amigo" (Later,
friend) & wish you the best until you return....."Vaya con Dios!"
(Go with God!).