Recently, I added a new title to my life. One that I’ve never had before, never expected or even imagined. I don’t like to tell people that I got a new job because then they assume that I have stopped being a full time harpist and that definitely isn’t correct. So I like to tell people that I’ve put on a new hat that blends well with the rest of my outfit. I am now the newest editor of the Folk Harp Journal (FHJ) which is the publication of the International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen (ISFHC). I’ve been working on the Journal for many years, never expecting to be in this position, but I’m extremely excited about the opportunity and the adventures to come.
Four years ago when the last editor left, the thought did cross my mind that I would like that title but I knew at that point I didn’t have any of the qualifications needed to make me even a remote possibility as a candidate. After that, it never crossed my mind again until late November when Tammy Feil, the past editor, told me of her plans to retire.
A few months ago a friend of mine had approached me with a business opportunity. That was a surprise and I was seriously considering it although I didn’t really feel the need to add a major challenge to my life. Things are grooving along quite well and Rick and I love our life together. However, it would have been a good fit with my current work and it is something that I’m passionate about doing. So I was pondering the pros and cons. And pondering.
Then the editor position for the FHJ came up and I didn’t have to spend much time pondering it. It hadn’t been on my radar and I hadn’t thought about it but there it was and I knew it was the right step for me. As a self-employed artist you do have to wear a lot of hats. I have become better at writing as I work on this blog. I’ve had to learn several new software programs to create and edit my CD and to work on marketing by designing advertising and concert posters. I’ve definitely learned more about organization and project management which I was already pretty good at from my days of corporate life. And as a solo artist you really have to learn self-motivation and determination. It is all up to you, baby.
During the last few years as I’ve worked on the paid advertising for the Journal I’ve actually designed a few of the ads and gotten to know all of the people that are involved in the magazine and society. It is a great group of people and I’ve really been glad to be a part of it. So at this point it felt like a natural next step for me even though I couldn’t say being an “editor” is something that I’ve done. It was a great leap of faith that the board of the ISFHC has taken in hiring me but I plan to make them proud.
I got the official word on December 31st and after that it was honestly like getting hit by a tidal wave. There was no time to ease into the transition! The deadline for publication was bearing down and I had a lot to learn. Mark and Tammy Feil were awesome in helping me walk through things but it was just nose to it to get everything organized and ready for my first issue. It was a steep learning curve but I felt up to the challenge. By the time I sent the magazine off to the printer for my first issue I was a week ahead of schedule! I had purposefully left a little cushion room in there in case of bumps but everything went smoothly. The Spring 2015 issue of the FHJ should be hitting mailboxes soon.
I’m already at work on the next issue and I’m looking forward to many more. There are so many exciting things going on in the harp world and I’m thrilled to be a part of it in this new way.
Below is my “Note from the Editor” which is included in the Spring Issue.
It is an honor to have been chosen by the ISFHC Board of Directors to be the new editor of the Folk Harp Journal. Working with Tammy and Mark Feil on the FHJ has been a pleasure and they have taken the publication to new heights. They are helping me tremendously through this transition time and I will miss working with them.
Nearly fifteen years ago, I dreamed of learning to play the harp. One of my first purchases was membership in the ISFHC. The FHJ was my catalog of hope and inspiration. After I got my first harp and started to play, the Journal was by my side when I was looking for conferences so I could learn and interact with other harpists. The pieces of music printed in the magazine over the years have become some of my favorite songs to play. Stories of other harpists gave me the courage to go out and perform, to work in hospice and to become a harp teacher. In January of 2011, I become a full-time harpist and this past October I released my first CD. I never dreamed when I began this journey that I would come this far. The FHJ has been with me every step of the way and helped me fulfill dreams I couldn’t imagine when I started. My goal as editor is to continue to foster and inspire the dreams of harpists wherever they are on their journey.
In early 2006, Mary Radspinner asked me if I could help her a little bit with the classifieds for the Journal and since then my duties with the ISFHC have grown and changed in unexpected ways, especially this newest phase. Above all, I have come to sincerely appreciate how much work goes into keeping this organization growing and vibrant and the wonderful people who are involved. This community has so much to share and learn from each other. It is never ending exploration and limitless imagination.
Beth A. Stockdell