Tastemakers. That was supposed to be the cover story this month. People who have the kind of taste — whether it’s fashion, food or overall style — that makes them an “influencer,” someone to follow, the kind of person you want to be seen with, or have a drink with. We’ve got a few in town. Would have been a fun story.
And then … it happened. People got sick. Bars and restaurants closed. Social distancing became a term we all knew very well. The governor’s face grew grim as he tried to reassure we’d be OK while also urging us to #StayHome.
And suddenly a story about tastemakers seemed … silly. So, as is often required in the quickly changing world of news, we pivoted. And oh, what a pivot it was.
We knew we needed to address COVID-19, but how? Over at our sister publication, The Free Press, they’re knocking it out of the park keeping people informed about the virus and telling the stories of how our community is coping.
So we decided to take a different approach.
Knowing everyone has a story about how this nightmare has had an impact on their lives, we decided to hand the pages over to the readers. We asked 10 people to give us 250 words on what this trying time has meant to them. That’s the only guidance we gave them. And judging by the submissions, they didn’t need any more guidance.
What resulted was a thoughtful, honest and raw collection of short essays that sums up the feelings of angst and uncertainty of our time. We sought a cross-section of voices to try and span the gamut of feelings and thoughts. We know you’re going to appreciate this collection. Handing the writing over to the readers isn’t something we’ll do often. But in this case, it seemed to be the right thing to do.
Elsewhere in Mankato Magazine, we bring you stories of happier things.
Southern Minnesota’s theater community is thriving. Whether you’re looking for big musicals, experimental drama or timeless classics, various theater groups around the region have you covered. We sat down with folks from several groups, both collegiate and community, and we get into what makes southern Minnesota — and Mankato in particular — such a hotbed for theater.
Our familiar faces feature this month introduces you to Maddie Diemert, the editor of Minnesota State University’s student newspaper, The Reporter. Maddie is a great example of a student leader who has gone beyond the call of duty to serve the students and help make her college campus a better place. She’s a talented young woman with a bright future.
Finally, I’d like to call your attention to our monthly comic, thoughtfully created by Kat Baumann. This month she delves into one of my favorite topics: dog walking. And I’d also add that there appears to be a very good beagle in the comic, which should be enough to make us all paws for a moment and smile.