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From the Mother of Presidents and Far Beyond
“In my writing, I have been inspired by being 'Virginian,' but I never set out to do a commercial for Virginia. It was just that the background of my growing up there was so inherent in my character that praise and gratitude to Virginia came out.”
- Earl Hamner (novelist/screenwriter/creator of "The Waltons"
I am an Old Dominion dame, though I didn't always identify that way. Growing up in the shadow of Washington, D.C., I called myself a Washingtonian all my life until I moved to Iowa's “amber waves of grain” for one year. Suddenly I began to recognize the traits that had always made me a Commonwealth girl. I longed for the magic of a place where the North merged with the South. I missed the morning mist that hovered over the Blue Ridge Mountains. I missed Westmoreland's clay cliffs. I missed the clip-clop of horseshoes on Williamsburg streets. I was nostalgic for a Virginia I had mostly gotten to know through the occasional weekend get-away with my family. The truth was that, at that point, I knew our vacation spots like Camden, Maine and Miami, Florida better than I did Roanoke or Hampton. But nostalgia is a powerful, hallucinogenic drug.
When I moved to Richmond in 2008, I knew I would write and make art. My desire to start Quail Bell Magazine in 2010 became an obsession that's ebbed and flowed over the years, largely because of the complicated feelings Josephine Stone's death left me. When Josie was killed in 2011, I was afraid to continue with Quail Bell. I feared it wouldn't be the same without her. I almost abandoned the project completely. I never thought I'd find another kindred spirit. While it certainly has not been the same without Josie, re-launching the website with Kristen Rebelo has been a cathartic process. Since the re-launch in June, I've had the chance to revisit old Quail Bell plans and envision Quail Bell's future.
Quail Bell is a publication that started in Virginia and, like Virginia, Quail Bell is deeply rooted in history and folklore. But Quail Bell does not only belong to Virginia. It belongs to a global, online community. The original plan was to never make it known that Quail Bell was even based in Virginia, but then I developed such strong Commonwealth pride that I thought it would be foolish not to point out what treasures and potential my home has to offer.
Kristen and I enjoy submissions, social media engagement, and letters from all over the world. I'm proud that I started Quail Bell in Virginia, but I also know that it'd be selfish to keep all of this within Virginia boundaries. So no matter where you're from—even if you've never even set foot in Virginia before—welcome to Quail Bell Magazine. We've been waiting for you for three whole, turbulent years.
Welcome to our staff blog, where you can learn more about The Quail Bell Crew.
Christine Stoddard conceived the idea for Quail Bell in late 2009 after writing a children's story by the same name, and launched the website as a college blog in 2010. In June 2013, Christine and former art director Kristen Rebelo officially launched Quail Bell Magazine as a global web magazine. Read our editorial mission statement to learn more.