Editor's Letter: January

I ran a marathon two years ago. New York, not Boston—not because I’ve got the wrong loyalties, but because to run Boston you have to either meet a ridiculous qualifying time (which means a lot more of those long weekend training runs) or raise money for charity (way too much virtuousness to take on all at once), whereas New York lets you qualify the lazy way, through a lottery. Going in, I’d heard that completing the 26.2 miles would be a transformative accomplishment. And in one sense, it was: Now that I’m back to not running, I feel guiltier than ever about my lack of exercise.

It’s perhaps because of my own checkered attempts at self-improvement that I’ve always been a sucker for stories about people who commit unequivocally to reinventing themselves or the world, or both. For this month’s “Change Your Life” package, we invite 12 locals who’ve done just that to relay their experiences in their own words—the idea being that their accounts will provide a little motivation to go along with the dozens of practical tips the piece contains. We also dissect the idiosyncratic brand of advice that cover guy Dr. Keith Ablow dispenses to the guests who appear on his TV show seeking help getting themselves back on track; ride along with a controversial private detective who’s launching his latest attention-getting gambit; and look back at what made the Ritz the Ritz on the eve of the iconic hotel’s switch to a new name. Cynical journalists that we are, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention a few changes we don’t expect to see, despite Deval Patrick’s best efforts to make them happen. You might pick up on a certain theme running through these articles, and much of the rest of the issue as well.

While we’re on the topic: You may have noticed that the magazine itself has been changing over the past few months—taking on a more rascally sensibility, tackling more-ambitious subjects. We’ll be continuing that process in the year to come as we look for fresh ways to tell stories, incorporate new contributors, and make some renovations to our City Journal, City Style, and Food + Drink sections. Are there any changes you’d like to see as we go about our evolving makeover? Send along your thoughts to editor@bostonmagazine.com. —James Burnett, acting editor