Mark Whitehurst is constantly championing the cultural and artistic happenings of Santa Barbara. When you run into him, he quickly starts telling you in his characteristic sotto voce style about all the great things happening in our town, from art gallery shows to big concerts at the Granada.
Mark is the co-publisher and editor of CASA Magazine, which celebrates all things local every week. He’s a long time member of the board of directors of Downtown Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara Beautiful, and it’s hard for me to think of another individual who commemorates this city more than Mark.
Mark answers the Proust Questionnaire.
What is your motto?
As someone who tries to live an optimistic life and yet sometimes finds it fatal in a variety of figurative ways, my motto is similar to Dr. Pangloss: “We live in the best of all possible worlds.” In this phrase I find resilience.
What do you like most about your job?
Being a publisher connects me to the community in a variety of ways. This community connection feeds my soul. I enjoy looking to the future and working towards Santa Barbara being a model city.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I have a reoccurring dream of basking in the sun on a beach with a feeling of contentment. First off, being red-headed with an obvious shortage of pigmentation makes basking in the sun the height of extravagance and perhaps craziness. Second of all, being a tad bit restless, basking equates to happiness.
What is your greatest fear?
Without a doubt it is small places. Being claustrophobic is an odd fear that descends upon me at odd times.
Who do you most admire?
Professionally it would have to be Jacobo Timerman, for his immense integrity in the face of death.
Personally it would be my brother John, whose lifelong generosity towards me continues to hold my admiration.
What is your current state of mind?
Healthy ambivalence. Where I find myself today is balancing thoughts and ideas in a comfortable way.
What is the quality you most like in people?
A positive attitude about the potential of people and the world. I often find it in a movie, a book, poem, or music.
What is the quality you most dislike in people?
The attitude of being self-absorbed is what I dislike most. I usually listen for reciprocal questions and thoughts.
What do you most value in friends?
A healthy sense of exploration. I like to go exploring and enjoying life and all it has to offer with people who feel the same way.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I believe my most marked characteristic is a measured response to important things. I like a good gestation of thoughts and ideas.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
The word “fabulous” immediately comes to mind. Lately it seems to be magnetic and I use this word excessively because it says Yes, Yes, Yes to me.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Oration. I have been in awe of Mark Anthony’s funeral oration since a high school drama class. The ability to move people through an organized speech is an amazing talent and I would love to possess it.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
The ability to say “enough.” It is a challenge for me to move on. Sometimes I keep finding gold in a situation or project. But often I am not looking far enough down the road.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Learning to play the violin. My family was doubtful, my friends thought I was crazy, and yet I wanted this so much, I made it happen.
Where would you most like to live?
There are a couple of cabanas in Hope Ranch that are very appealing. I would enjoy having apartments in cities around the world, however Santa Barbara feels like home.
What is your most treasured possession?
When I arrived in Santa Barbara, several friends had lost all of their possessions in a fire. I asked myself this question about treasured possessions. The answer was my violin. Because of the intense and loving relationships it embodies. In my world it is symbolic of a love for life.
Who makes you laugh the most?
My grandkids and my dear partner Kerry create a wide range of laughter in my life. Hours of fun and giggles.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Ghandi. In the 1960s, he was an important enigma, because I had not read enough about him. But as time goes by and I read more, he is the role model I most identify with and desire in my life.
On what occasion do you lie?
The amount of ice cream in my bowl. Without fail.