Growing up


Passion and competency need to get acquainted with one another before much good can happen.

I met my wife in the press room of our college newspaper, but ours was not a typical love story. I was a section editor and she was a writer. For the first year we knew each other, the only time we would talk on the phone was when I was assigning stories, or calling late into the evening to see where a story was. She probably thought I was being a jerk, but in truth, I had risen to the editorial position quite accidentally and I was struggling to do the job well. My passion for the work was not matched by my competency. At least not at that moment. 

She left to study in Cheltenham for a year, and when she came back we had both grown. I was a better editor, and she no longer wanted to write for me. We barely recognized each other.

It's funny how life sometimes throws you in the deep end of the pool. It's amazing how sometimes that works out. Two years ago, Joshua and I barely knew each other. I had been following along with his work on Jonathan Fisher and when he announced the development of Mortise & Tenon I was excited. I knew the magazine was going to bring something really special to the worlds it would touch and as soon as subscriptions were available I was in. I really wanted this magazine to succeed.

At some point in the middle of all of that, I happened to casually mention to Joshua that I had some experience in editing if he needed any help getting issue one off the ground. I officially expected to hear nothing more, but a few months later I got an email that said something to the effect of: “If you're serious, let's talk.” That was November of 2015 and our first issue shipped somewhere between January and February of 2016. There were a lot of late nights and extra pots of coffee involved.

In October, we hope of have issue three on your doorsteps and let me tell you that this is no small thing. It means that we will be shipping two issues in one year and moving to a spring and fall publishing schedule. We have grown in so many ways over the last two years, but we feel called to this work and passionate about what we do. We’re also thankful for the passion that our readership has shown from the start. Mortise & Tenon is a small team and that means a significant amount of work for each of us, but none of that would be possible without each and every person who has picked up up a copy and found something valuable in it. We are all part of this work. 

We want to be the sort of magazine where passion and competency meet. We want you to learn, but also be inspired. Maybe it's learning that a dovetail doesn't have to be airtight to hold a chest together for 100 years or what not to do when you pick up that antique banister back chair from the flea market. Either way, we want that to inspire passion in you so that you go back to your own work with love and guts. Mortise & Tenon is a place where all of that comes together. We’re learning something everyday and we hope that you are too.

- Jim McConnell


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