on the page magazine
issue no. 13 summer/fall 2005
unfinished business

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from the editor

august 2006

years ago, I told my friend Ellen, a playwright and mother of three, that at my funeral they’d dwell on my would’ves, could’ves, and should’ves.

“No,” she said, “nobody cares about that stuff. They’ll remember how you laughed, what you enjoyed, whether you were kind.”

After cancer hit three members of my immediate family in three years, life seems pretty fragile and Ellen seems pretty right.

Editing our thirteenth issue on “unfinished business” helped me better understand how not to dwell on potentials or the past, and showed me how other people say good-bye, obsess, finish, or start anew.

Doug Oakley’s photographs, taken in the aftermath of sudden death, depict the shock and pain of those left behind. Erik Leavitt’s poetry reveals a simple longing for recognition. In interviews, Ira Glass tells us why the first 90 percent of anything worthwhile sucks, and Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck exposes the damage you might have done to your children by telling them they’re smart—as well as why John McEnroe could never have been a Michael Jordan.

Stories by Blair Campbell, Daria Brown, and Samantha Schoech look at romantic encounters from adolescence to adulthood. Victoria Polk’s story, “What We Do without Money,” marries the dreams of locals and yachters in the Caribbean.

In essays, Jacob Kornbluth tells us a childhood secret and Charles Herman reconnects with an adolescent dream. OtP editors take on romantic and parental ghosts at the movies, while musician John Keith looks at the last album and life of an eccentric hillbilly rock and roller.

This issue also marks a return of sorts—our contributing designer and cover artist, Laura Cary, designed On the Page’s logo six years ago when she worked at Lux Design in San Francisco. She now lives in Portland, Oregon, and we’re excited to have her on the page again.

Lastly, we provide you with our own idiosyncratic suggestions of things to do before you die.

I hope you’re all laughing, being kind, and enjoying life, this summer and always.


Harold smiled. “I like you, Maude,” he said.
Maude smiled back. “I like you, Harold.
Come, I’ll teach you to waltz.”

~ Harold and Maude (1971)

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