Editor's Note: Joy and Pain

So here’s how it happened: This magazine’s editors—Karina and Alexandra and I—were meeting with our colleagues who manage all of Oregon Humanities’ programs to pick themes for the next year and a half of issues. It was May 2021, and most of us were still mid-vaccination, so the meeting was on Zoom, and we were throwing words around from our little boxes. “Beyond” came up, and “care,” and “memory,” and “underground.” And then Rozzell asked, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have two words? Maybe two words you don’t often see together, like that song by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock, ‘Joy and Pain.’”

Rozzell does a lot at Oregon Humanities. He runs our adult education program, Humanity in Perspective, and organizes our So Much Together workshops, and he often pushes us to get out of our grooves and approach our work with curiosity and imagination, turning staff meetings into Dadaist writing exercises or meditations on creativity. He loves music and movies, so of course he’d suggest a theme inspired by a minor hit single from 1988 that in turn quotes a non-charting 1980 single by Maze.

When we pick themes for the magazine, we look for words that are capacious, big enough in meaning to encompass many stories. But some things in life are too big for one word. Sometimes you need two. As Frankie Beverly sings, “Joy and pain are like sunshine and rain.… Oh, but it’s wonderful, they’re both one and the same.”


Art and Music, Oregon Humanities Magazine


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Discussion Questions and Further Reading: Joy and Pain