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Each week, I call our letter-to-the-editor writers. As copy editor, I'm responsible for making sure they actually wrote the letters that bear their names, and for letting them know they're up for possible publication.

After a few months, I picked out the regulars. They got to know me, and would often welcome my call with a "Hey, Kirsten, how's it going?" I unintentionally memorized their answering machine messages. I'd often talk to their spouses. (Hi, Mrs. Slocum!) Sometimes, I could tell by a hitch in someone's voice that he or she wasn't having a good day.

And yet, though I connected with them weekly, I didn't really know who they were beyond the topics they wrote about. The writer in me would occasionally create fictional stories for each of them.

Mostly though, I'd just wonder about their day-to-day lives. Why did Sharlene move to Santa Fe? What does Duane teach? And who is this Don guy who writes us from Australia?

The cover story this week introduces 10 of our most consistent writers. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into their lives as much as I did.

Kirsten Akens

  • This idea was simple: Let's get to know our letter-writers.

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