A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

There are magazines that show you that you can bake a beautiful cake, or plant an amazing garden, but what about a magazine that helps you live a more authentic life?
— Matthew Lee Johnston, Editor-In-Chief
Photo by Danette Johnston.

Photo by Danette Johnston.

In August 2017 I went on a low-budget, domestic skatepark safari. Though I don’t usually travel without my family, I was feeling pretty boxed-in by the 8-to-7, straight-job, working life, and was somewhat in crisis. I planned a solo mission hunting for skateparks along Montana’s Hi-Line, which skirts the border of Canada as America’s northernmost interstate highway. For six short days, It was just me and the road, big skies and sunsets, urethane and concrete. I stopped in small towns like Big Sandy and Malta to skate the creations of Oregon’s Evergreen Skateparks and Seattle’s Grindline, built in conjunction with Jeff Ament’s Montana Pool Service outfit, which is one part non-profit foundation, and one part stoke-factory.

I spent a lot of time staring through the windshield on that trip, thinking about the kind of stuff you are supposed to think about on solo sojourns. But honestly I was trying to sort out my life. After spending a lot of time parenting and providing, I’d been left feeling a bit aimless when it came to my own life. I was trying to find the secret recipe for a life that had more meaning. More time for being creative and how to spend it with family before we all got too old to do much of anything. I wanted to find a way to shut down all the voices in my head that are constantly telling me I can’t do something risky because if I do I might fail.

It was somewhere between Rudyard and Dunkirk when it all came rushing through me. Wouldn’t it be fun to figure out how to justify exploring the seemingly magical things that help people get out of their own way, and achieve their good-hearted goals? Wouldn’t it be so rad to tell stories about the winners on the other side of the big shit heap that keeps the majority of us at arm’s length from a life we can be proud of? There are magazines that show you that you can bake a beautiful cake, or plant an amazing garden, but what about a magazine that helps you live a more authentic life?

Driving on, I started planning my approach. The first subjects that came to mind were my friends who brought the Skate Like a Girl organization to its rightful place at the forefront of revolutionizing skate culture. I wanted to showcase their amazing success as cultural change agents who totally reinvented the Seattle skate scene. When I sat down to learn about their journey, Kristin Ebeling from SLAG said to me, “I think it’s a cool idea for a magazine, I even have this,” and lifted her sleeve to reveal the letters ‘PMA’ tattooed on her wrist. I could not believe it. I was only just starting the journey of getting out of my own way, and already the universe was opening right up and ushering me in. Read more about Kristin and SLAG on page 24.

What I hope to do with PMA is tell stories and share inspiration from those who have found a way to take a risk, and despite the challenges that most risk-takers face, have landed on their feet. From sex worker Valerie Stunning fighting to reduce dangerous stigmas that affect her community (pg 20), to artist Gretchen Baer's artful reach across our southern border (pg 12) , and the incredible grassroots evangelism of Warm Current (pg 38), these are stories of people who have followed their passion and found out that being true to yourself is the only way to truly be free.

In a way this magazine is to its creators what I hope it will be to you…a step toward a better life. I am so very proud of what we have been able to achieve with this first issue, and I will be forever grateful to everyone who pitched in and contributed to PMA001. I will also always be indebted to Shailee, the young Blackfeet skater who pushed me so kindly to drop in to the Big O Capsule at Thunder Park. I spent the entire day in Browning skating with kids who were all 12 and under. These kids had gone from not having a skateboard at all, to soaring freely over the voluptuous moonscape Jeff and his co-conspirators had quietly built for young people that are so often left behind. That day, Shailee inspired me in so many ways that she will never know.

Now...let’s go create the lives we deserve to live! - MLJ