A Compilation of her
Letters from the Editor
1998 through 1999

From Radiance Spring 1999

Dear Friends,

We’re getting great feedback about our Winter 1999 issue. I’ve had calls and e-mails regarding our interview with the legendary folk diva Odetta. Readers were thrilled to find out more about this amazing woman/singer. And the articles on tai chi spurred a number of you to explore classes in your local area: just what I’d hoped for!

Readers appreciated health activist Lynn McAfee’s medical activism information, her personal stories, and her insights. You can be sure that we’ll be featuring more from Lynn in upcoming issues.

We hear that you’re enjoying our newly expanded, full-color “Images” department, also known as our “Fashion and Art Feature Section.” In this issue, you’ll find twelve full pages of fashion, color, and style! This new feature is a great opportunity for businesses to promote themselves. If you have a store, a mail-order business, or a jewelry or accessories line, or if you create or sell sculpture or other art, call our office for details on how to make your way into these pages. (Read more about this at our web site.) It’s win–win for all: our readers, Radiance, and your company.

Now to the issue at hand: focus on teens. Since 1984, our first year in print, we’ve run articles about children, weight, and well-being. We’ve heard from professionals, and we’ve heard from kids. We’ve written about families: about healing the hurts, changing the patterns, and how to better support one another to grow into our fullest selves. In actuality, the Radiance Kids Project is nothing new. But in the past few years, I’ve renewed my passion about helping our youth, both through the magazine and at our web site. Simply put: kids need us. The same old stuff is happening in their homes, in their communities, on their playgrounds, and in their classrooms that we adults endured when we were kids. Most of us had no one to talk to about body image, diversity, and self- and size-acceptance. It’s up to us, folks. We need to do what we can, when and where we can, to reach out, to reach back, and to bring others along into greater self-love, awareness, and tolerance.

I’m glad to read in some of your letters that the Kids Project articles from Fall 1998 were useful to you. One woman told of how she took a few of those articles to her daughter’s school and passed them out at a meeting with the principal, teachers, and counselors. As a result, the teachers there planned to distribute the articles to other school staff and begin addressing how to end size discrimination at their school. This is the kind of thoughtfulness and action we hope our Kids Project will inspire. We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation.

Our Spring “Teen Scene” is a collection of essays from teens of varying sizes. One title, “Just Fat, Not Stupid,” reflects the flavor of their writings: refreshing, articulate, bold, and thoughtful. I thank these young women for expressing themselves and sharing their lives with us. We all have a lot to learn from them.

Also in this issue is your introduction to Debbie Powell and our new “updates.”  This time, Deb takes six girls from a Catholic school in Baltimore for a day to the salon to enjoy creating new looks for the prom. I think you’ll get a kick out of seeing them go from school uniforms to prom gowns and reading their reflections on this size-positive “before and after” experience.

Each issue of Radiance has a different theme. Catherine, our senior editor, describes the shift in content from Spring to Summer as “going from wholesome to naughty!” It’s true. Summer’s book reviews by Marina Wolf will tempt you with readings on food, sexuality, and sensuality. And we’ll hear one man’s story about exploring intimacy with his plus-size lover and wife (the same woman!). I can hardly wait! There’ll be more in Summer, including pictures of you—our bold and colorful readers in all your glorious shapes and sizes—for our Fifth Annual Swimsuit Edition. There’s still time to send in your color photos, if you do it now. Strut your stuff and send the proof our way! 

I always like to share something personal in my editorial. Recently, I found my way back to the water. Swimming laps has become a regular part of my week. The pool is a magical place for me.

The other night, I had a new insight as I swam through the water. I felt that swimming, or the motion of my body gliding effortlessly through the water, was my natural state of being. I felt that what happens outside the pool—home, work, friends, upsets, anxieties, new adventures, and so on—was the stuff of life, the constantly shifting and changing dramas we all go through. But swimming was real. I am still not sure how to explain this enchanting moment. But the awareness and peace it brought has stayed with me! 

A few months back, a woman I was swimming with shared her own little fantasy with me. While she swims, she likes to pretend that she’s at a spa or hot springs in the mountains, in a private pool, feeling totally pampered. It’s an easy fantasy to believe, because in the recent winter months, there’s been a gentle mist rising from the surface of the water as we swim, making the pool a truly exotic scene.

Another swimmer told me that when she comes to the pool, she “gives ‘it’ to the water”: whatever is going on in her life, at work or at home, she brings to the pool and  releases it. I borrowed this from her today as I was trying to mend a hurting heart.

Then there’s a Chinese woman who doesn’t speak much English (and I don’t speak much Chinese). For the past several months, we’ve been passing each other in the lane and smiling. The other day I asked my lifeguard friend, Perry, if he knew a phrase or two so I could speak to her. “Hi, how are you?,”  I asked in her language, and she beamed! I repeated my greeting to her at every lap, and we laughed with such great joy and delight in our new contact. Then there are the women who bring treats to share as we pause in the shallow end to chat: cappuccinos, cookies, carrots, and even chips and salsa one night! I love the pool. I love the people.

As the year unfolds, I hope that you, dear reader, find that which allows you to feel your effortlessness and joy in just being. And may you find those whose company brings you pleasure, insights, love, and delight.

With this, I welcome you to our Spring 1999 issue.

Be well,

Alice Ansfield
Founder, Editor, Publisher ©