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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

'I resigned as a czar'

Carl Clarke
Carl Clarke

By carl Clarke / A! Magazine for the Arts | July 01, 2015

EDITOR'S NOTE: Carl Clarke resigned in June after serving for 10 years as the volunteer circulation manager for "A! Magazine for the Arts," and he will be missed. Besides the hundreds of hours of time and energy he has given to distribute the magazine throughout the region, the committee will miss his wonderful wit. Carl has written a weekly satire column "I Made It Up" for many years that is published in the Washington County News. In May, he published a second volume of these collected columns, "The Bug that Ate the South." If you would like to purchase a copy, email him at Published below is his recent column about his resignation from the magazine. (Reprinted with permission)

For 10 years, I have been circulation manager of A! Magazine for the Arts. As such, I coordinated the delivery of about 3,500 magazines every month to theaters, museums, restaurants, retail shops and numerous other venues.

I did not deliver 3,500 magazines myself. I had a wonderful group of tireless volunteers to help me, many of whom are on the A! Committee, but many of whom have never been to a meeting. They are all simply dedicated to making the magazine available to readers who want to know about the cultural events in the Mountain Empire.

On the last Tuesday of the month, I picked up bundles of magazines at the Bristol Herald Courier printing plant and delivered them to committed volunteers who actually delivered them all over the region. On the last Wednesday, I delivered magazines myself to 20 locations in Abingdon.

I came on the A! Magazine committee as an unpaid volunteer. When I became the volunteer circulation manager, I made twice as much money as I did when I only served on the committee. Since I was putting in so much time, I decided that I should have a more exalted title. I renamed myself the Circulation Czar, and asked the committee to address me as "Your Czarship," or "Sire." If we were all standing, I suggested that a little curtsey or bow would be appropriate.

That went over like a ton of lead bricks. The committee is far too egalitarian for that.

It occurs to me that I am one of the few czars of modern times who was not overthrown and shot.

Often delivering the magazine, I would see tourists and stop to banter with them. You can always spot tourists: they look lost, they read every historical marker, and they're following a self-guided brochure. Usually, they're couples from Roanoke or Knoxville in town on a day trip. I would help them with directions and hand them a copy of A!. "I want you to know that we'uns got culch here," I'd always say.

I don't know what I'll do with my time. Maybe I'll just wander the streets of Abingdon. Someday someone will approach me on the last Wednesday of the month and say, "Do you read, sir? Yes? Here's a copy of A! Magazine." Then I'll know that some other clown got my job.

Topics: Achievements