As an intern for Cleveland Magazine in 2014, my last summer project included contributing to Best of Cleveland, our annual celebration of local food, entertainment and shopping. As cool as that might sound, I felt slighted that my extraordinary writing skills (or so I believed) were being wasted on 100-word listings.
Boy had my ego steered me wrong.
In my defense, my idols were Hunter S. Thompson, Ernest Hemingway, Chris Jones and Michael Hastings — titans of modern journalism. They told stories that moved the needle and examined human existence. Stories not unlike Becky Meiser's "Spirit of Halloween" (page 54). In it, mother Anna Chambers prepares an elaborate Halloween costume for her daughters, who suffer from Usher syndrome and lost their father around this time of year. It's a story of hope and strength — the kind I wanted to tell.
So with a notebook in my hand and a pout on my face, I drove my mid-2000s Kia Spectra across Northeast Ohio — Concord to Westlake to Collinwood to Cleveland Heights — tasting and testing handcrafted products. Interviewing their makers revealed a common ingredient behind every chocolate chip cookie, cover band and homemade trinket: a dreamer like me. Slowly, my perspective changed. These tales were also ones of sacrifice, grit and ambition.
But you don't have to be a writer to support Northeast Ohio's best. We hope this month's collection inspires you to spend the extra few bucks on local pastries, sit front row at a comedy show or meet new people at a nearby happy hour event. Because doing so supports the creatives behind the products that make our city fun, interesting and, well, the best. And if your wallet or busy schedule doesn't allow that, at least spread the word that Cleveland is a city of dreamers.