You know, you guys sure have a lot of typos in your paper,” the female caller told me, “and not only that, but your paper is totally written by men. What’s up with that?”
That was a fine way to say hello. I didn’t know what to say except that she was right, and in the 12 years or so since that introductory phone call to our Midvale office, I’ve known Greta deJong to be right most of the time. Her magazine, Catalyst, was around 8 years old then, predating the start of this publication by a couple of years. So, when she called, I kind of figured I was getting sage input from a respected veteran, and like I said, she was right—if typos were dollars, we would have been rich back then. I like to at least think we’ve gotten better, but typos remain our bane. Donut know why.
And every time I see one on our pages, I think of Greta.
We met soon after her phone call, at Green Street, I think, where she promptly dispelled any previous notion I had about the types of liquids the enviro-holistic-healthy-green Catalyst crowd might consume. I expected her to order some kind of herbal tea, but to my great amazement, we skipped that in favor of copious amounts of tequila. Over the years, we’ve maintained a reliable friendship, not one without its kinks, but a steadfast one nonetheless. In our business of publishing news and viewpoints that are not exactly mainstream, I believe there is a bit of mutual respect and admiration for what each of our publications has accomplished. I know that notion exists on this side.
Greta is now celebrating her 20th year of publishing Catalyst. That’s 140 dog years, about the right measure for what it feels like to dream, build and sustain your own publication. To her great credit, Greta doesn’t look 140. She’s always thinking, she’s always smiling and she’s forever ready to dance. I have great respect for that because, personally, I quit smiling, thinking and dancing years ago. This is a very tough business, not only fiscally, but emotionally. For Greta to maintain a continuum of 20 years of community-building and challenging thought is simply amazing.
She’s had some fine help along the way. I don’t know everyone over there, but certainly her husband John, as well as Diane and Polly, share in Catalyst’s success. They are committed, talented and good people. It doesn’t hurt to have a good attorney, either, and Greta’s had a guardian angel of one in Brian Barnard. As everyone should know by now, Catalyst and Brian teamed up on the lawsuit that ultimately led to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver overturning Utah’s unconstitutional liquor laws. It was a fight worth fighting and they fought it well for three long years.
Here’s to another 140 years to Greta, her staff and Catalyst. Make mine a chai—no salt, no lime—nah, skip the chai.