Friday, September 21, 2007

Adventures in the Life of a Magazine Editor

There have been many times in the last 6 years when I've chuckled to myself thinking, "if only the readers would see me now, wouldn't they be surprised." Oh, it's not as if I present myself as some kind of super-professional powerhouse, nor do we ever pretend that the magazine is anything other than what it is - a great group of people writing and sharing what they love - but its just that people tend to expect *something*.

Early on, when the magazine arrived at the printers in the form of tape, glue and paper, it was a struggle to view it as much more than a wonderful hobby. As years passed, it has grown and become slightly (OK, a lot) more polished. It now travels to the printer either via a disk or email. And yet I am the same, no more polished. Many lessons have crossed this desk, some hard, some delightful, but the desk is the same.

You may be wondering what has me rambling down this familiar mental path.
The cover shot for the next issue, that's what!

Covers have always been the bane of my existence. Not only do they need to capture the essence of the season, they have to do it 2 full months ahead! For the first couple of years, I didn't have a camera, and wouldn't have known what to do with the images anyway. Oh, how I toiled over those covers. Scissors, glue, and all manner of tiny things littered the carpet for days on end. When they were done, I'd marvel over them or despair over them - depending on the outcome.

But times have changed a little, and with a camera and Photoshop, it is more about coming up with an idea. That's always been the easy part.

Still, holiday issues are tough. It's September. How do you photograph a wintry scene? I know the answer, silly. You plan ahead, of course! And some day I hope to do just that. This is not that day.

And so today, dear reader, was the day. The idea: a swag full of berries and juniper (featured in a great article inside) hung on the barn door would be just the thing. I cut some of the berry sprigs, and headed down to my sister's, where scads of rosa rugosas are tossing out their lovely hips, and the juniper is bursting with berries.

Have I ever mentioned the dozens of day-old bantam chicks they got a couple of months ago? Did I tell you how they turned out to be almost all roosters, resulting in some very aggressive activity? No? Ah, well such is in fact the case. I think there are 3 or 4 bedraggled hens, and the rest are randy, boisterous boys - all full of the need to express themselves, vocally and territorially. I've taken to keeping a cardboard tube from wrapping paper in my car to ward off the thugs. One will start to square off against me, and be joined by the rest of the roving gang of maniac roosters. They are fearless - and free-range.

So the juniper is close to the driveway. We started there, and would get the rosehips (up behind the birds' home base). As we finished clipping the juniper, the crowing took on a different tone, and they started edging in near us. We both had cardboard tubes. We thought we could take them. We were wrong. As we started to head up for the rosehips, they puffed up and started lunging for us, ignoring the swats with the tubes. In the end, we fled, beating a hasty retreat through the studio door.

We left them to calm down a bit while we put the swag together. Who needs rosehips anyway? We wound up with a great shot for the cover.

But I'll bet nobody thinks that's how we do things around here. It even surprises me sometimes.


Maryanne said...

Yep, takes me back to the great juniper berry caper of '99!

Go! Go!

Tina Sams said...

Hush, you! I think the fuzz are still hunting us for that one.