I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce myself, RW Hubbard, and my right-hand-man, Mick Hellwig.
Mick and I met some time ago on Larry Water's Snuscentral.org forums, and we struck up a friendship right away. We had a lot in common; we both liked guns, cars, motorcycles, tobacco and other stuff. We'd swap each other snuff or snus through the mail, etc. When Mick, his wife, and their daughter came down south for the races, they went out of their way to visit me. Good people.
Mick had been writing the occasional article for SC, and I was immediately impressed with his style. Mick, Larry Waters and Andy Romeo are all three talented authors; their columns made me want to express myself better in my posts. Unfortunately, this tended to make me blabber on endlessly, thereby disrupting the flow of the forum threads.
Larry, in his infinite wisdom, decided that my posts would be better served as essays. He wanted me to write a column for SC. I thought he was crazy! I told him so. But he believed in me, so I wrote a couple of articles covering snus and politics. I found that I really enjoyed writing about tobacco history. In fact, I discovered that I really liked writing in general. I have Larry to thank for that.
See, when I was a young punk, I couldn't decide whether or not I should become a musician, a filmmaker, or a writer. I tried my hand at all three, and I found that I preferred to work a 9 to 5 and earn a steady paycheck rather than to express myself artistically and be dirt poor. I even tried to do both, but I just couldn't bring myself to write a hit song after spending all night mopping the puke off of the gas station floor. So I gave up, and drifted into blue collar obscurity.
But Larry made me remember what it felt like to accomplish something. After I'd finish an article, I'd lean back and think "Gee, I just did that." Not that I'm a good writer, mind you; but I know that I can fill up some blank space with a few words and know that it makes some sort of sense.
So, the genesis of the magazine lies in a trip to the dentist. I hate going to the dentist, especially this one in particular. He always makes me wait for at least an hour before I'm seen, and there's never anything to read in his waiting room except for those crappy dental health magazines. There's also a Reader's Digest from 1995 in there that I've read about six times. Lots of news about Bill Clinton in that one.
I meant to grab a book when I left the house, but I forgot to. I had a few minutes to kill before my appointment so I went in the local chain bookstore to find a magazine or two to read in the lobby. Nothing caught my eye, except for a couple of the cigar magazines over in the men's health section. I leafed through them, noting the BMW ads and golf write-ups.
Where's the cigar articles? I wondered. Not all cigar smokers care about Scotch, ink pens, Rolex watches, Tiger Woods or 401k plans. I just wanted to read about tobacco. That's when it hit me- barring the few cigar books on the stand, there existed no publication devoted to what I feel is real tobacco. Where were the books about snuff? How about its Swedish cousin, snus? Hell, where could I read in print a review of the new C&D seasonal pipe blends?
Something had to be done. All day in the dentist's chair I thought about doing a snus book. That night, I actually printed up a crude ashcan of what I thought the book could look like. The next day, I talked to Mick and told him that we should do a magazine, all about snuff and snus. He thought I was crazy for wanting to do a print mag in this internet-based day and age, but I believe that the more he thought about it, the cooler the concept seemed.
And that's pretty much it. Mick and I have toiled away for the last six months getting this thing together.We've been blessed with a supporting crew of the finest contributors that we could have ever hoped for. We have writers onboard that I can't believe aren't writing for "big" books like Time or Newsweek. Editors like Mick that aren't really only editors; it's just one of the many feathers on the dozens of hats that they wear.
And we hope that you enjoy the book as much as we enjoy creating it. This time next month, I guess we'll know for sure!