I had just opened the package the Fedex guy handed me, tilted the envelope and out slid a cell phone.
I answer it. “Hello, Eno.”
“Chris…Chris Schwarz, is that you? How…what?”
“Call me, Morehandtools and we don’t have much time, Eno. I hoped this conversation would have taken place under different circumstances but you can never count on hope. I’ve been watching you for some time now, Eno.”
“Been at the beer a bit much lately, eh?”
“They are coming for you Eno.”
“What are you talking about? Who’s coming for me? And stop calling me Eno.”
“Stand up and see for yourself. Look over at the elevator now but stay low.”
Peering over the partition wall I see them as they exit the elevator. I see a woman point in the direction of my cubicle and I duck…three editors had turned and looked my direction.
“How did you…what do they want?”
“I’m not sure but if you don’t want to find out, you need to get out of there.” the voice on the phone replied. “I can guide you out but you have to do exactly what I say. The cubicle across from you is empty.”
“But what if…”
I gather up my chisels and hand planes and lunge across the aisle into the vacant cubicle. Two of the editors turn the corner just as I take cover in a dark corner.
“Stay here for a moment.” the voice on the phone whispers. “Just a little longer” he continues.
I peek around the wall of the cubicle and see Editor Fitzpatrick talking to a man while Editor Huey searches my desk. Editor Lang must be waiting in the elevator to cut off my escape.
“When I tell you, go to the end of the row to the office on the left.” says Morehandtools. “Now! And keep your head down.”
I roll out of the cubicle right behind an intern who had just turned his back. I sneak away, crouching as I go, down the aisle and into the first office on the left. The office is empty.
The voice comes across the phone and breaks my fevered concentration. “Good. There’s a window. Open it.”
“How do you know all this?”
“The answer is coming, Eno.”
I fling open the window and the wind howls into the room.
Morehandtools continues, “Outside there’s a scaffold. You can use it to get to the roof. There’s a small ledge. It’s a short climb. You can make it.”
“No. No way! It’s too far. Are you crazy?”
“Don’t be controlled by your fear, Eno. There are only two ways out of this building. One is that scaffold. The other is in their custody. I leave it to you.” Morehandtools hangs up.
As I climb out onto the ledge, I think “This is insane. Why does this keep happening to me? I’m going to die.” A blast of wind knocks me off balance and, as I cling to the building, I lose my grip on the cell phone. It plummets to the ground slowing as it is swallowed by the distance below. I climb back through the window as the editors enter the room.
Editor Fitzpatrick, “We just want to offer you a job.”
“Geez, Chuck. You didn’t have to put us through all of this.” said Editor Lang.
“Yeah, Chuck, come work with us. We think you’ll make a great addition to the team and it’ll be fun!” said Editor Huey.
“That’s what all this is about? You guys want me to work with you? Sounds great but what was Morehandtoo…err, Chris talking about?”
Editor Fitzpatrick replies “Chris?! He’s been touring his way through the German breweries teaching woodworking classes as he goes from town to town. Have you talked to him lately? I don’t think he’s been sober for weeks.”
That explained everything and I humbly accepted the editors offer. So, on June 3rd I enter The Matrix…umm, start working with my friends Megan, Glen and Bob as the new Senior Editor for Popular Woodworking Magazine.
Six years ago when I finally broke down after years of Glen Huey’s badgering me to begin writing and teaching, I started the Acanthus Workshop and submitted my first article idea to Popular Woodworking Magazine. The whole idea was to reach out and share my experience with other woodworkers. Sure, I had apprentices in the past (as many as six in the shop at one time, of varying experience) but this was something different. This was being driven solely by my desire to pass on what I had learned. And so I embarked on a tremendous new woodworking adventure.
I would never have guessed that it would take the turns that it did nor would I have guessed I would have met such amazing people in the process. Through the school I’ve come to know some really great people who are as passionate about their avocation as I am about my vocation. Through writing for the magazine, I’ve had the opportunity to give presentations to the crowds at Woodworking in America and to woodworking clubs and guilds across the country. I’ve had the opportunity to travel with The Woodworking Shows and meet beginning and experienced woodworkers from all walks of life. The best part of this new adventure is, none of that will change.
Sure, the Acanthus Workshop will be scaled back but I plan to continue teaching classes (Bob Van Dyke of the CVSW are you reading this?). As a member of the Popular Woodworking team, I plan on participating in Woodworking in America 2013 as a presenter again. And, of course, you’ll get to know me even better through my increased writing both in the magazine and out. This change means I will finally have more time to blog both here and on the magazine’s site.
It also means my wife and I will be relocating to Cincinnati. The magazine has generously worked with us so we can wrap up the 2013 class schedule. Some classes are being rescheduled over the next couple of months while others may be relocated to our new base of operations. As the details unfold, the website will be updated.
I’m sure I’ll do this more than once over the coming months but I want to thank everyone who has so graciously accepted me into this woodworking fraternity (and I mean that in a purely non gender-specific way). To the students past and present here at the Acanthus Workshop, and the subscribers to No BS Woodworking, I want to offer my sincerest thanks. It is my interaction with all of you that has turned my experiment into the most fun job I ever had. I am truly blessed and grateful to each and every one of you for your participation, patronage and your friendship over the past six years. I look forward to many more years of our interaction.
I’d like to thank my lovely wife, Lorraine for all her years of support. She worked with me in the shop for years and has supported every endeavor I’ve decided to try. When opportunity knocked for the senior editor position she more than enthusiastically expressed how she thought I ought to go for it (some would say she was “excited”…in fact, she has on multiple occasions herself). I know how close she is with her family and how hard it will be to move so far away from them. To paraphrase Clint Eastwood in Grand Turino, ‘I somehow managed to get the best girl in the world to marry me. It’s the best that’s ever happened to me, by far. ‘
And I want to publicly thank Glen Huey for being one of the best friends I’ve ever had. Without his creative input my career would never have made the turn into this exciting, fascinating and completely rewarding segment of the woodworking world. He has encouraged me to reach out to a larger world and share my experiences. He has inspired me with his unflinching craftsmanship, his insatiably inquisitive nature and his unparalleled passion for the craft. Without his guidance and mentorship I would never have come to know any of you. I certainly would not have even considered tackling a career at The Magazine.