I've often been asked why I started a magazine in Richmond, Virginia, especially one with a larger regional focus and growing geographic presence. Why didn't I start it in Arlington, Virginia or Grinnell, Iowa where I had previously lived. Why Richmond? The simplest answer is that I was living in Richmond when I finally felt confident enough to pursue the idea. A coincidence then. Had I been living in Hong Kong or Kansas, I probably would've started a magazine there, too. Of course, it wouldn't have been Quail Bell. Quail Bell had to start in Richmond.
I was studying creative writing, film, and product innovation at the well-known art school there. VCU was a hotbed of inspiration. It was just the place and I was just the age to try new ideas. But it wasn't just VCU; Richmond as a whole is a magnet for the imaginary, the nostalgic, and the otherworldly. Richmond thrives on ghost stories, urban legends, historic pride, social paradoxes, and a bizarre glamor hard to explain. Within a mile radius, you'll find a university parking lot over a slave cemetery, the church where Patrick Henry gave his "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death Speech," and a strip club on top of Edgar Allan Poe's first office. Richmond may be the former capital of the Confederacy, but it's also home to a thriving punk scene.
The more I learned about Richmond, the more I wanted to learn about Virginia and consequently Washington, D.C. and Maryland. I began to recognize all the similarities instead of honing in on the differences and, before I knew it, I had the "DMV" tattooed on my heart. We're the Mid-Atlantic and yet we're the beginning of the South. We're urbane and global-minded and yet we're provincial. I wanted to celebrate, investigate, and, if possible, improve the region by opening a forum for intelligent dialogue where humor's allowed and all voices may be heard. That sort of space didn't seem to exist for the DMV's female Internet generation. And every day The Quail Bell Crew works to ensure it's here to stay.
Thank you for planting the seed, RVA.