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In my beginning is my end.

And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion.

In my end is my beginning.

Excerpts from T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets


Dear Readers,

The next time I write this letter to you, we will be in the third millennium. Has it all been said ad nauseum? Every prediction of Y2K chaos, every reflection back? Or has none of it touched the core of the emotions that actually carry us forward? The year 2000 is, of course, a non-existent event. We just happen to measure time in a particular way that marks the passage of hours, days, weeks, months, and years, so that now we are at the end of a century, at the end of a millennium. Other cultures measure time differently. I recall a wonderful line from the old Powell & Pressburger movie A Matter of Life or Death, spoken by a French noblemen: "What is time anyway? A mere tyranny!" Time does rule us, our everyday existence, our past, our future.

Looking back at 1,000 years is particularly daunting. Looking back at the last century is too, but certainly some obvious observations can be made. There were great eras, thinkers, artists, writers, composers, musicians, scientific discoveries, cultural movements, fashion changes, and more, that were just extraordinary. But, of course, we close a century bathed in blood. Two horrible, devastating World Wars, the Holocaust, for America, two conflicts in Asia: Korea and Vietnam; exterminations in Russia, Cambodia, Latin America, Central America, Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, to name a few. And it continues, sadly.

However, we are also ending a century with a technology that offers the possibility to share and understand each other in an extremely personal and powerful way Ė the Internet. Can anyone remember what it was like before we had it? Though so new, it has become such a significant part of our everyday life. When I first started seriously using it several years ago for research work, I was profoundly awed by the power, and the future potential power, of the Internet. I thought to myself at the time, this is as significant an invention as the printing press was in the 15th Century. It will change everything, and it has already begun to do so. We talk to people we know, old friends who live far away, and to new people we have met through the Internet, all over the world. I have become acquainted, for example, with a businessman, working in Papua New Guinea, who loves to translate Latin hymns; with a young woman in France who is well versed in Greek mythology; with a man in Canada who has a fan site to a beloved author; with an older woman in England who shares her life, both her loves and losses; with a young man in China whose poetic love of nature is inspirational.

This exchange of conversation -- dialog, passions, hobbies, lifeís twists and turns -- with others who are so far away, really does turn the world into a "Global Village" -- more so than TV, I think. Because the Internet is not just a shared event like a television program, it is an ongoing exchange -- a watercolor stream of thoughts, hopes and dreams. Perhaps this Global Village, this event of the multitude, will break down the walls of ignorance and misunderstanding in greater ways than have any past political, cultural, and social attempts.

Fashion Finds entered the Internet arena to be part of this historic explosion of change, to reach out to everyone who is interested, who wants to know, who is curious, who has love for the beautiful, for knowledge, for the new. And we have been blessed beyond expectation with the interaction we rejoice in experiencing with our readers. It is a miraculous thing.

Although Fashion Finds has yet to celebrate its 1st anniversary, I did start to work on the project the day after New Yearís. So, in a sense, 1999 does mark our first year of work, and what a lot of work it has been! I have to say that every day there has been a discovery, something to learn, another interesting person encountered. Itís always different, new, never repeated, it never gets old. Iíve loved every minute of it.

One final observation. In all the mainstream magazines, television programs, and pop culture we absorb, we have noticed that there is only a "looking back," either at the millennium or the century. Where are the discussions of the wonders, the plans, the hopes for the future? Do you remember reading that there used to be Worldís Fairs, where there were celebrations of the future, of scientific innovation, of lifestyle and leisure made more accessible? We donít have that anymore.

What does this overabundance of looking back, and this lack of looking forward, say about our state of mind; what does it say about the temper of our times? Have we no hope for the future? No dreams? No "bigger than life" goals? It saddens and worries me. I fear for our imaginations, our inner happiness, if we canít look forward with optimism. Do we no longer feel that we write our own destiny? Do we feel that the world, the system, is so rigidly structured that our lives are preordained?

I believe that we write our own future inside us, in our souls. We just need to listen and pay attention to what we choose to write inside us, believe in ourselves, and act upon it.

I wish you all the very best over the holiday season; whatever celebrations you make, enjoy them. Be safe as well. And I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for appreciating so what we have done.

Love and best wishes,

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