The Cambridge Candle


Vol. 1, No. 1

November/December 1998


“Testing, 1, 2, 3...”

By Marty Connor

Welcome. Please make yourself at home.  This paper is part of a dream -- a shared vision to create a place where people could gather to express themselves.  We invite your voice, your words, your ideas, your energy.

Who are we? We are your neighbors. We are a group of people who believe so strongly that a real community paper is needed in Cambridge that we decided to create one.  We are a cab driver, a student, a computer consultant, a composer, some musicians, artists, a social activist or three, several retired people, and our families and friends.  We plan, we work hard, we give life to this dream.

It has been said that next to one’s love, the next most precious thing one can give is one’s labor, and in some rare circumstances, when the two come together, what results can be magical. We believe that this is such a moment. You hold in your hands our “labor of love.”  It is our distinct pleasure to share it with you.

In our paper you will hear many voices.  Voices you may never have heard before.  We hope you enjoy them.   We also hope you will add your voice to ours, for we wish to have an inclusive paper. A paper that reflects the diversity of our city, and offers opinions that have, for far too long, been only muted whispers.

It is our desire to provide a framework for people to be heard, and for us to share ideas, and to celebrate our humanity.  We actively solicit your words, your ideas, and your help.

The path we have taken to this point has been challenging.  Many of us have strong opinions, and strong feelings, and our meetings the past few months have been contentious at times.  But, we were able to invent the methods and mechanisms required for us to work together.

Once we got past traditional hierarchical structures, and dignified each person’s contribution as valuable, we had made the first step.  Once we stopped worrying about titles and started focusing on the practical matter of how we could get out 10,000 papers by the beginning of November, we were on our way.

We strive to be a paper that presents many facets of life, many voices.  We wish to give voice to many points of view, and to broaden the definition of acceptable discourse by presenting ideas that are seldom heard, but interesting and vital, none-the-less.

We also understand that this paper must sustain itself financially, so we will accept advertising starting with our next issue.  We hope that those who have the means, and who would like to support us, will place an ad with us.  We also will encourage our readers to give our advertisers consideration when shopping for goods and services.

The decision to accept advertising did not come quickly or without careful deliberation.  Some of us feared that in taking advertising, we would be beholden to others.  Others felt that perhaps seeking grants would be a better strategy for funding.  After much thought and discussion, however, we decided that it would be better to be for-profit and to have advertising.

We reasoned that we knew of many business people who shared our ideals and energy.  So, in accepting a limited amount of advertising -- enough to cover our costs, and help the paper grow and support others -- we would be supporting our community.  We also figured that we’d rather be a “table with many legs,” such that we were not relying too heavily on one source of income, be it a grant or a patron.  Also important was our desire to retain the ability to make political commentary without the restrictions imposed by tax classification.

The decision to produce this first issue without advertising came early in our meeting together.  We felt that we needed to use our energy to deal with content, structure, and more practical matters, and that if we did a good job, people would contribute and advertise with us in the next issue.

And so we welcome you.  We hope you will send us your stories, your letters, your ads, your hopes, your images, your poems, your love, and your labor.  We so want to get to know you, and for you to know us, such that “you” and “we” become just “we.”

A single candle, glowing more brightly each moment, lighting others.  Come sit by our hearth, listen, share, warm yourself, and know that you are welcome. You are home.

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