Marie-Helene Bertino came on as a reader for One Story a little over six years ago. Since then she has critiqued thousands of stories, helped us pull off two fundraisers, paraded around AWP with a pair of cupid wings on her back, given us fashion advice, made us laugh, founded a writing workshop, won the hearts and minds of her students, and edited some amazing short stories, including “Hurt People” by Cote Smith and “Number Stations” by Smith Henderson. But Marie is also an incredible writer in her own right, who recently won a fellowship at the Center for Fiction, so it makes sense that after six years, she would need to shift gears. Marie will continue to teach for One Story, but she will no longer be our associate editor. We are relieved to know that we are not losing her completely, but as she steps out of the One Story office and into the world, we also felt the need to give her a proper goodbye. Here is what I imagine:
With heavy hearts the staff and subscribers and supporters of One Story gather on the windy dock as Marie strides up the gangplank of a giant ocean liner. When she reaches the upper deck, she waves back at us. She is wearing a muff and a coat with a chunky belt and some kind of fantastic, adorable hat. She looks beautiful. We throw kisses. We feel lumps in our throats. And then Marie throws serpentine and the coiling paper unfurls and falls from the rail is a stream of color. Then the boat pulls away from the dock, and she begins her new adventure.