Second Generation, an intelligent English-language bi-monthly based in Washington D.C. was an instant hit among younger Iranians when it first published in March 1994. The last issue (No. 4-5) came out in the Winter of 1995. Publisher Termeh Rassi explains why.
Now I know how hard it is to pull the plug on a loved one. In essence that's exactly what I did. It was a quality of life decision. I just couldn't bear to see it deteriorate into something that I no longer recognized. To this day I have yet to go somewhere without being asked about it. I tell everyone it's in a coma. The concern is very nice, very flattering; but not enough.
There are two reasons why I stopped publishing Second Generation. One is that I am a disorganized perfectionist. SG was and is a great success. We started a genre of publication and am glad to see that the issues that we began discussing are becoming main stream in our society. I am glad for the attention and respect that generation is finally getting.
Understand that we started SG on a hope and prayer. I paid for publishing the first issue...and by the next one Sabi Behzadi had lined up a number of advertisers. I was reimbursed for my money and from then on, the operation supported itself. Each issue nearly doubled in size and the look was becoming more and more professional. The subscriptions started pouring in, as did the articles. The problem was that there was no infrastructure to support the growth.
While I was driving everyone insane, I stopped and realized what I had known all along. This was my dream, my ambition. We all had our reasons for getting involved and there were a number of things that we had in common. But this was not a hobby for me. It was my vision, passion and quest all rolled up in one.
Either I had to accept that every issue and article would not be perfect; or I had to find funding for full time staff. I had the support of some wonderful people along the way, but it wasn't enough. I stopped cashing subscription checks. We were not sending out the magazines on time.
Our double issue took the most out of us. Marcy Fahimi, our art director, and I spent the last few days commuting between Virginia and Maryland, where the computer was, with no sleep. That was followed by a fundraiser. Once I held that issue in my hand, I collapsed physically. I decided that I needed a breather.
The staff and everyone else started getting a bit worried after a month. In the mean time, I found a "real" job and concentrated my energies on work. As time passed, I tried to drum up the enthusiasm, the will to start another issue. I even started collecting articles, but I couldn't motivate myself.
I berated myself over and over again; telling myself that people were counting on me...I owed it to the community. While part of my motivation was to do good for community, the majority of my motivation was derived from my need to express my confusion and feelings of duality. I had fully explored the theme within me.
I was torn between my need to move on and others need to further explore what was going on. Should I keep doing something just for other people? I probably would have if I had not reached the point of burn out with the whole Iranian community.
I would watch the Iranian channels and found nothing in common with the culture I saw. I would attend Iranian functions, and leave frustrated. I wanted to scream at everyone "if SG means so much, why don't you put your time where your mouth is." I think I actually did that to a couple of people.
One day I spoke to a wise, older friend of mine. He pointed out that if I had to choose between my sanity and anything else; I should choose my sanity.
Those who know me know that I will somehow get myself involved again. The Iranian blood and love for Iran; the itch to change everything and be active; and the need to express are just too strong. I am on a more secluded part of the path right now, but hopefully I will emerge into full view soon.
Who knows....SG may even reappear. The other staff members have followed their own path and what they are involved in today is a reflection of their reasons for getting involved with SG. Some of them have become my best friends along the way. I just realized that I can't make them travel my road, my way... but maybe one day, our paths will cross again.