Not Dead Yet!


My bench and I are happy here.

It has been one year to the day since I got the biggest (thus far) shock of my life. And despite my terror at the time, I’m not dead yet (nor scooping ice cream for a living, as I did when I was 16).

In late 2012, I was promoted to editor at Popular Woodworking Magazine and thought I’d retire from that at age 65 or so; the end came sooner than expected. (And on Dec. 6, 2017, I had the mother of all hangovers – not the best coping mechanism for anxiety and fear, and a terrible waste of good bourbon.) I’d been with Popular Woodworking for 12 years, and with the parent company for 19. When I joined the magazine in 2005, I planned to stay for maybe five years as I earned a Ph.D., then pursue a career in teaching. But to my surprise, I fell in love with woodworking, and sharing woodworking education and information to help people develop skills that translated into tangible objects. I hadn’t thought about a new career – and on the cusp of 50 at the time, how was I going to find one? And did I want to?

I do not do well in a corporate structure. I’ve never been afraid to stand my ground, or speak what I see as the truth to power…but I’ve never learned to do that in a politic manner. While I don’t actually know what led to my leaving, I’m sure my inability to blithely follow directives made the corporate decision easier. And despite feelings of failure, I also felt relief. I was tired of fighting.

So my trepidation notwithstanding, and with the unflagging encouragement and help of Christopher Schwarz and John Hoffman (who have my eternal gratitude), I decided to  stick with the old career, but on my terms.

Thanks to your support I write and edit in my home office, with cats on my lap and in my pajamas if I like; I can pop over to the Lost Art Press shop or my basement shop to build things; I can still pay the mortgage and feed said cats.

Thanks to you, I don’t have to sit in corporate meetings or ever write another employee review; I’ll never ask, “do you want fries with that?”; and I have the luxury of swimming or sinking by my own decisions (and if I do go terribly wrong, well, I can still make a mean milkshake).

Thank you for taking my classes, for reading things I’ve written and edited, for buying books. I tape every package and make every trip to the post office filled with gratitude.

About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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45 Responses to Not Dead Yet!

  1. Congratulations on your 1 year anniversary, Megan. I’m not sure if I said it at the time, but PopWood’s loss is the community’s gain (a thought that has occurred to me frequently as Rude Mechanicals has taken shape).

    Wishing you all the best for your endeavours and looking forward to seeing you next September.

  2. Darrell Peart says:

    I am glad things have worked out in your favor. Popular Woodworking was a much better magazine when you were in charge!

  3. Michael J Young says:

    Happy to hear things are working out for you. It’s refreshing to see someone go out on their own and have success. I hope to be able to do the same thing, one day. I have to agree with the sentiments here, PopWood was a better magazine with you there. The direction it’s taking no longer appeals to me and I will not be renewing my subscription. I, for one, would much rather spend my money in support of independent artists and publishers.

  4. “life is what happens when you plan on doing something else.”

    Keep going and enjoy the journey.

  5. Travis Shephard says:

    Your an inspiration! Thanks for sharing so honestly with us.

  6. Kent Ryan says:

    Congratulations on the passage of your first year of what you once termed the “Woodworking Hobo Life.” From a little north of The Ohio, it looks and reads like you have made the most of your first year free of the corporate fetters. Then too, the world just seems a better place with the Fitz unfettered!

  7. I love what you stand for and enjoy your teaching and writings. Please keep that saw going and Sharpen those pencils. p.s. feed them cats. ya’ll go girl.

  8. johncashman73 says:

    Happy anniversary. I’m glad you didn’t go off and teach freshman literature, or to edit “Hooves and Horns” (still the preeminent magazine for discerning unicorn lovers). Woodworking can really use you.

    I’m really bad at photographing things, but I intended a year ago to take some pictures of things I had built from PopWood while you were there. I still haven’t done that. But you’ve made an impact, without a doubt.

    A year ago I also resolved not to throw stones, but screw them. I don’t know what went on behind corporate doors, but those people have made a lot of bad choices, both on personnel and otherwise, that are obvious to us all. And they are well on their way back to pukey ducks and Pacific Woodworker.

    For my own selfish reasons, l hope you keep doing what you’ve been doing. Working in slippers is nice — though it can track a lot of shavings through the house.

  9. maross1248 says:

    Congrats on your anniversary. Isn’t great to know you can land on your feet, despite what seems like disaster? Also agree that Pop Wood is not the magazine it used to be. Wishing you continued success.

  10. Trevor Angell says:

    Gratitude is beautiful, and I thank you for writing this. Like a character in a novel we love (and are all writing together) there are many of us out here that care about what happens to Megan Fitzpatrick.

  11. tombuhl says:

    Time sure goes quickly when you are having fun. One year on with more to come. Thanks for being part of the woodworking community, Megan.

  12. Martin West says:

    PWW has gone downhill since you left. I unsubscribed. You know the end is nigh when a woodworking mag has 4 pages of advertising for herbal miracle remedies and foot massagers..

    I am glad are doing well!

  13. Congrats, Megan. Keep up the good work. And why, yes, I would like fries with that book.

  14. Ron Harper says:

    We have grown sorta fond of you.

  15. Morgan says:

    It is quite lovely that you have settled into this new life, and kudos to Chris for lending you support on your journey. Your voice is much appreciated and I am so glad you are here. I also feel the publication has slipped terribly, and I sent my concern via email. Telling is the fact I never received a reply. All the best this coming year.

  16. Victor says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary. Glad to hear it is going well for you. Your departure was their loss. For example, my subscription.

  17. Michael W. O’Brien says:

    The first time I watched you “ in action” was in Berea, Ky for PWW’s first WWIA event in 2008. You were, seemingly, the point person for everything as well as for all questions from where is Mike Dunbar’s class, to where is the restroom, to what’s for lunch. As always, you did a stellar job; and I was one of many attendees who did ask you a question.
    So your departure as PWW editor is their loss, and a big gain for you both in peace of mind and being able to follow your best career instincts.
    Keep doing what you love and all else will fall into place.
    Happy Holiday Season.
    Michael W. O’Brien
    Valley Head, AL

  18. Kyle Barton says:

    Congrats on year away from the corporate structure and making it on your terms. All the best!

  19. John Verreault says:

    You’re very welcome Megan. Please don’t ever change…or “go corporate”. That would be a sad day indeed. Revel on you rebel you. ;^)
    – John
    (an endearing (and enduring) fan just north of the border).

  20. J.C. says:

    As mentioned earlier on Instagram, Toldja you’d get spoiled. Now you’re plumb ruirnt! LOL Congrats, lady. You’ve earned a pull or two on that bottle of bourbon. Here’s to you, Fitz. Long may you wave but never waver. Cheers! And Merry Christmas to you too.

  21. Paul Smith says:

    Cheers de Paul

  22. Todd Reid says:

    You are much better off! That magazine is falling apart under new management trying to become the same as all the other wood working magazines. When you were the editor it was something special just like you. Enjoy your life.

  23. Philly says:

    Bravo! You have to “do your thing”, Megan – congrats on following your path!

  24. justiain says:

    Thanks for putting up with all of us out here in the Woodworking world!

  25. Eric R says:

    Congratulations Megan on your one year anniversary at LAP.
    I hope the transition was actually as smooth as Chris and John made it look to be.
    I would, however, like to see a representative from Popular Woodworking provide a reason why you were let go.
    We should all be able to do what we like in life as our career.

  26. simmonsjay1 says:

    Never understood what happened at PW. Chris’s reasons for departing were clear but a great team remained in place but then you all disappeared. Was it only about $? Regretfully the mag is a shadow of what it once was with half of the content in both volume and quality.

  27. Andy G says:

    Popular Woodworking has declined considerably. There is no such thing as a conincidence.

  28. Ira says:

    It will all turn out to be a blessing in disguise. PW is dying a slow death and, while you may have been able to delay the inevitable had you not been showed the door, the fact is, “corporate” doesn’t give a rat’s ass. Your remaining years there would have resulted in a steady diet of aspirin and Maalox.

  29. Kerry Doyle says:

    I have always liked, maybe revered, your writing because, as I’ve told you, it is like you are directly conversing with me, and each one of us, i suppose.That voice will never be quieted as long as we woodworkers seek you out.
    As for that pHd, it pretty much enlists you in the pHd club, which is the necessary credential to teach in another place rife with politics ans mis-directions, something you don’t need.You need no institution to validate your writing. Besides, we woodworker types tend to be better students (and more productive)

  30. rons54 says:

    Not going to gush, but thank you for having the courage to do what you do on your terms and for doing it so well, and with such style.

  31. Sam says:

    Thank you for doing what you do:)

  32. Allan Grant says:

    Megan, so happy to read this. It’s inspirational and you are to be congratulated for doing what you want. (Well, reading all the above, you have been congratulated!) May this independence continue for as long as you want it to and may you always be covered in cats, sawdust, and friends, even those of us who may simply be pixels on your screen. All the best.

  33. Rob Patrick says:


    Got fired myself almost exactly 13 years ago and it was the best thing that ever happened to me personally and professionally. Keep doing what you love and keep up the good work. It inspires the rest of us. BTW, I’ve never seen a middle aged woman receive so many public marriage proposals, so you must be doing something right.

  34. erikhinkston says:

    I feel like we are all on the Fitz team, excited to watch you succeed, happy to support you and encourage you when we can. I hope you are overwhelmed often by this support and that you continue to grow on this journey.

  35. Marilyn says:

    I wanna be on the Fritz team too! Go Megan! I find myself a bit envious. 🙂

  36. Andrew Brant says:

    I personally, find this phase of your life the most inspiring. Thanks for everything and congrats!!

  37. Mike Rutledge says:

    Well done. Glad you’re thriving, and doing things you love, on your own terms.

  38. nbreidinger says:

    I’m taking my second woodworking class of my life with you in February and I’m really looking forward to it. I could probably fuddle my way through a DTC build, but 1) small children do not afford me 2 1/2 days straight in the shop and 2) I know I have a lot to learn in hand tool techniques. A third consideration was supporting someone who had the guts to strike out on their own. I’m a business owner too, though I have about 7 years more on this side. I hope you’ll find as I have that I wouldn’t want it any other way.

  39. O Yessssssssssss! Rock and Roll Megan! – freedom is a beautiful thing (scary …but beautiful)

  40. Shane Martin says:

    I’m a little late to the party, but I wanted to say that I really miss your house updates. I would always check the magazine to see if there was anything new. (I’m working on a 1920’s house.)

    I had just renewed when you left. I did not renew this year. Something about the articles has turned me off. I’m a mechanical engineer with an art degree and I found some of the newer detail drawings unnecessarily hard to follow and the artwork a little cheap.

    • fitz says:

      Thanks Shane! I hope to get back to those _very_ soon … I’m tired of living in what looks like a salvage yard. I just haven’t had any time in the last couple of months to do any of the work 😦 1920s is a good house era!

      • Shane Martin says:

        Don’t worry about it. I had 300 board feet of white oak sitting in my living room for almost two years. It became part of the decor. I have almost finished turning it into a kitchen. I also have walls that have been ripped out for 10 years. It is what it is unless you can hire a crew of 10 full time contractors.

  41. deucerraylewis says:

    You made the right decision. As my grandfather would say, “I don’t even know you and I like you”!

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