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Seasons of Change
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Seasons of Change

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When it comes to numbers, 127 is pretty unremarkable. There’s a U.S. Route 127 that stretches from Tennessee to Michigan. There was a movie called 127 Hours. Sarah, the biblical figure, supposedly lived 127 years … that’s all I’ve got.

Uninspiring as it seems, the number 127 feels pretty special to me all of a sudden. It represents the total number of issues I’ve helped edit here at Winston-Salem Monthly—meaning that of the 148 issues printed, around 85 percent have had my name in them.

And that includes this issue, my very last as editor.

Looking back, I’m still surprised I got hired here in the first place. When I showed up for my job interview in 2008, I was a 24-year-old TV producer with zero magazine experience. For some reason, then-editor Lauren Rippey saw enough potential in my college newspaper clips to offer me the assistant editor job. Ten years, two job titles, and hundreds of stories later, I’m still so incredibly grateful she took a chance.

I have loved this job—and this city—every day of my tenure. I have also, for 10 years, been surrounded by some of my favorite people in the world. From co-workers Richard Boyd and Angie Tedder to freelancers like J. Sinclair, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside a group of ambitious and amazingly talented individuals, all of whom put everything they’ve got into making this publication great. Together, we helped the magazine double in size over the past decade while also gaining hundreds—if not thousands—of new readers. I’m confident that things will keep trending upward under my successor, Katlyn Proctor, who takes over as editor starting next issue (see her note below). Katlyn joined our staff back in the summer and quickly proved her worth as an editor, writer, and all around awesome human. Her love for the city rivals anyone I know, and she’s determined to keep growing and improving the magazine. I have no doubt she’ll do just that.

As for me, I plan to keep on writing and editing stories locally, albeit at Wake Forest University, which is where I’ll be working by the time the ink dries on this issue. I’ve taken a job with the school’s alumni magazine, meaning I’ll get to keep living and working in Winston-Salem—a place I can’t imagine ever leaving.

Of course, the city today is a much different place than it was 10 years ago. Back then, downtown was mostly tumbleweeds after 5 p.m., kudzu filled in the area that would one day house BB&T Ballpark, and no one had even heard the words “Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.”

Nowadays downtown is buzzing. New-age jobs have arrived in droves. Amenities such as public art, craft breweries, and repurposed factories have changed the face of the city, and community spirit feels like it’s at an all-time high.

Working at the magazine has given me front-row tickets to the city’s transformation, and I feel lucky to have gotten to tell its story over the past decade. This job not only taught me how to be a better writer and editor. In many ways—despite the fact I grew up here—it taught me how to be a Winston-Salemite. I interviewed famous artists, poor migrants, entrepreneurs, athletes, philanthropists, farmers, politicians, chefs, even Bolt, the Dash mascot. Everyone taught me something: how to grill the perfect steak, which restaurant serves the best martini, how to throw a knuckleball, what characterizes midcentury architecture, how Pilot Mountain’s knob formed, and why people from all over the world love this place.

There are so many people I wish I could thank before I leave, much more than this lone page will allow. But I’d like to give a final thanks to you, the citizens of Forsyth County, for being a constant source of inspiration. Our city has so much going for it right now, and I’ve truly been honored to share its story—and your stories—over the past 10 years.

With your support, I have no doubt the WSM magazine crew will continue upholding its original mission, “To highlight the people, places, and ideas that make Winston-Salem a special place,” for another 127 issues—and then some.

///

I knew that Winston-Salem stole my heart back in 2015, and I’ve remained smitten with this city ever since. Now, that’s not as long as Michael Breedlove (after all, he sort of has the one up on me since he was born here) but I do promise to continue to tell the stories of Forsyth County with as much zeal and passion that this magazine has for the past 148 issues. I’m excited to further the mission of our publication and become even more engaged with the beautiful place we call home, so I hope you’ll welcome me with open arms.

See you in 2019!

KP

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