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Ojai Quarterly

by bret on May 27, 2010

By the time you read this, the first issues of Ojai quarterly should be out on the streets.

Our approach to this project is simple: Ojai Quarterly isn’t just for visitors. It isn’t just for residents, either. It’s for everyone who loves Ojai.

That is how we define our audience.

The purpose of this publication is to represent Ojai to visitors and residents as this place that is unhurried, thoughtful, active and inspiring. To do that, we will enlist Ojai’s best talents in writing and photography and give them the best forum for their words and pictures. We will present Ojai’s best businesses, services and products through their advertisements, promoting Ojai not just as a place to visit, but as a way of life. We want you to bring Ojai into your homes and lives.

Patricia Clark Doerner, writer of “Taking the Ojai Road” (Page 10,) writes eloquently about our long history of tension and conflicts  — these debates are the fires from which Ojai was and continues to be forged. And Doerner should know. Her family has lived in Ojai since 1869.

Any place this special will be fought over, and the message of her story is that the place that emerges from these conflicting agendas, views and visions will become the stuff of legends.

But Ojai is more than water wars and battles against freeways and gypsum mines. Here, talents collect like iron filings around a magnet. Jerry Camarillo Dunn Jr., has been all over the world for National Geographic, and has chosen to live and raise his family in Ojai. On page 28 he interviews four well-known residents to discover their reasons for moving or staying here. And throughout this magazine, beginning with the beautiful establishing shot of Ojai’s landmark Post Office tower, are photos by nationally renowned photographer Joe Sohm, who adds about a dozen to his total of 50,000 photos published in his lifetime.

The piece by yours truly explores how Aldous Huxley, one of the past century’s deepest thinkers and most prolific writers, became a regular visitor and may well have been influenced by his many years of association with Ojai residents Jiddu Krishnamurti, Rajagopal and Rosalind Rajagopal.

Ojai is also a place where you can have fun. Sami Zahringer explores what it means to be the parent of young children in Ojai with dazzling wordplay and humor, but also insight and heart.

And, of course, there is Peter Bellwood, whose column, “The Bellwood Chronicles,” (Page 56,) recounts a day in the life of a writer in which there is not so much writing as an exhausting flurry of procrastination. Through writing about not writing, Bellwood mines jewels of the sublime from the absurd debris of his life battling his own “Watcher at the Gate.”

And Linda Harmon has put together what will likely be the most comprehensive source of printed information about Ojai events. We hope this proves to be of use to both locals and residents, who will discover that the answer to the age-old query, “What’s going on in Ojai?,” is “Lots!”

Ojai deserves to be represented with excellence and a restless spirit of inquiry. This is what we hope to achieve at Ojai Quarterly. People have a sense about Ojai as a Shangri-La, a place apart, shimmering with possibilities for living life to its fullest. Let this publication be a reflection and a reminder of that abiding principle.

We have a great lineup of stories coming for the Fall issue, themed around the arts and their importance to Ojai.

The magazine will continue to evolve from issue to issue, and we expect our readers to be part of this process. We welcome your feedback. You can reach me at

— Bret Bradigan