As I’ve shared with folks the exciting news about donning the hat of managing editor of Santa Clara Magazine, I’ve been intrigued by the number of connections with the University that people in turn share with me: cousins who happily announce that both of their children attended Santa Clara, business leaders privileged to have been members of the board of fellows, fellow Peace Corps vets aware of the international scope of SCU programs, alumni who are proud of their Santa Clara degrees and who harbor a profound affection for their alma mater.
What makes this university so special? Instead of offering a short explanation, let me instead commit that it is part of the ongoing mission of this magazine to answer that question, through exploring the work that’s going on at Santa Clara in the realm of ideas, and in matters of the heart and spirit. The University’s rich history, and its strong sense of purpose, also put a special responsibility on the editors of these pages: to tap into the big conversations of our age, and to strive for articles with heft and depth of context, carried by writing that is lively, engaging, and surprising. In short, to provide a magazine that is essential reading.
Happily, I have an editing partner in crime. Ron Hansen wears the hat of literary editor, and for this issue of the magazine devoted to stage and screen, he has delved into the fantastic legends and sometimes ugly truths about Jesse James, Robert Ford, and how film and fiction have shaped our sense of history’s colorful psychopaths. Since Ron’s second novel, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, has just been made into a movie, he also leads readers down the looping and twisting path of translating fiction into film. As Ron reveals, it often starts with a phone call.
Certainly that’s how my Hollywood debut began. The offer from televisionland came on a Tuesday morning: drive up from San Diego to appear on “Jeopardy!” the following week. Alas, I had to turn them down, since I would be otherwise engaged; not half an hour before I’d been sworn in as the member of a jury for a trial expected to last three weeks.
The television gig worked out all right in the end, though. (Hollywood=happy ending, right?) Merv Griffin’s people called me a few months later to renew their offer. And, with the help of a daily double (“What are the radius and the ulna?”), I unseated a crossword puzzle editor from Louisiana.
With this magazine, we look forward to tackling some questions that might not be so simple. Nor their answers. Read on, and let us know what you think. And when you visit us online, check out the new SCM Tools feature.
Keep the Faith,
Steven Boyd Saum