A Compilation of her
Letters from the Editor
1998 through 1999

From Radiance Summer 1998

Hi Friends,

Who’d have ever guessed we’d come up with our own version of “the swimsuit edition” ?!  But here it is, for the fourth year. This time we’re featuring not only swimsuit manufacturers for plus and supersize women, but YOU, our readers, in all your glorious shapes and styles. Thanks for sending us photos of you and your friends delighting in the waters of the world! We’ll include readers’ photos each summer issue, so bring along your cameras as you play or vacation throughout the year!

This issue is abundant with color, attitude, ideas, and inspiration. I’m very excited. Members of the cast from Broadway’s The Life tell their experiences about being women of size in this hit show. And readers share their stories of being fat bashed: what happened, what they did, how they felt, what they’d do next time. Some readers were quite gutsy; others hope to handle the situation differently next time. Learning to stand up for ourselves is a process, for all of us. May these stories help inspire and arm you, wherever you are on your path.

This issue also gives fun summer reads, poetry, articles from readers on making their way to the water, and a delightful essay on the body’s own wisdom.

With this issue, we’ve gone up in page count as well as in the number of four-color pages! So enjoy! We’ve printed about five thousand more copies to distribute to new bookstores, grocery stores, and newsstands throughout the United States and in Canada. Soon, we plan to expand into the European market!  Shine on, Radiance!

As we grow and work to get Radiance out there in a bigger way, we need you. Your calls, e-mails, and letters are important to me and to the magazine. Many of you write and say you feel like you know me, and count on Radiance as a friend. I’m glad. I feel the same way about you. The level of intimacy and honest feelings about issues of body size that I try to bring to our pages is, I think, a glue that connects us. Your letters, in addition to your financial gifts and donations, help make our way smoother. Thank you.

Coming in Fall, our fourteenth anniversary issue, is a cover story on actress Camryn Manheim from ABC’s The Practice. Also from that show, you’ll hear from her delightful co-star Michael Badalucco. Fall continues our Kids Project with an interview with Jane Hirschmann (coauthor of When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies ) on kids, size issues, and self-esteem, and with a very helpful article by Michael Loewy, Ph.D., “Suggestions for Working with Fat Children in the Schools.” In addition, Carol Johnson, founder of Largely Positive in Milwaukee, provides us with tips for raising “largely positive children.” We plan to include Kids Project features in Radiance twice a year. This topic is vital to all of us, whether or not we have kids. Each of us can serve as a role model for kids and for the adults who are responsible for kids, just by the way we show ourselves to the world—whether by holding our heads up high, by answering a child’s curious question with kind frankness, or by speaking up against fat bias—we are carrying our message of size acceptance to a new generation.

On a personal note, I’ve been having some insights lately while strolling at my favorite marina in the evenings after work. The other night, I began to realize that I’ve been clinging to some “treasured wounds” (a phrase from a Buffy St. Marie song). By treasured wounds, I mean things that have hurt me and have become reasons to think I couldn’t or shouldn’t do something or that I don’t deserve to shine and be happy. I saw how some of these old, familiar thoughts and feelings have taken up so much internal psychic space, narrowing my ability to experience, or have room for, the new. For the gifts presented to me each day. For new parts of myself. For the joy of being able to live in the moment.

The next day I got a review copy in the mail of Slowing Down to the Speed of Life (Harper San Francisco, 1997), a book by Richard Carlson (author of, among other books, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff) and Joseph Bailey. This book is all about being in the moment, about getting more pleasure out of our lives. Says Carlson, “As I began to slow down, my life began to change . . . I now realize that I was learning to live in the moment . . . I began to enjoy the very process of living . . . My world began to come alive . . . Aspects of my life that I had taken entirely for granted became sources of interest and joy . . . I no longer felt rushed or panicked.”

Later that day another review copy came in the mail, a colorful new book by Sark called The Bodacious Book of Succulence (quoted with permission of Fireside/Simon & Schuster, Inc., copyright 1998). Again I marveled at the absolute synchronicity of these books arriving on my doorstep just when I was ready to hear their message! Sark writes in her introduction, “I wish for this book to give you a boost up over the fence that prevents you from moving forward and inward. I want you to swell up with succulent inspiration and send you flying towards your new creative universe.”

She continues, “When considering choices in your life, the ‘most alive choice’ feels like a bit of a risk, makes you giggle, or makes the hairs at the back of your neck stand up . . .  Often, our inner critics run the whole show, and we use a lot of language with these words: have to, should, I’d better, or else.”  She goes on, “I think as adults we become rigidified, encrusted with grudges, wounds, and protective devices that don’t work anyway. We walk carefully along, checking our purses, pockets, and car keys . . . We deserve to be the caretakers for our spirits and dreams, and this means truly sensing and listening for our most alive route. It may not be a common path, or a popular one, yet it will be clearly ours.”

So, dear reader, may you, too, open up to the joy and pleasure available to you in each of your many moments during the day. With this, I welcome you to our Summer 1998, Fourth Annual Swimsuit Edition!

Take care,

Alice Ansfield
Founder, Editor, Publisher ©