Friday, February 27, 2015

Tearing it up

Pictured: Proof pages of a forthcoming poetry collection proof,
torn in half this morning when we finished working with them.

One of the ways we avoid drowning in a sea of hard-copy mss and tss in our editorial operations is making sure to discard what we don't need. When we've marked up a proof, we scan the pages to PDF (for the benefit of future bibliographers) and then do what we need to with the paper. In the case of the pages pictured, we needed to transfer corrections from hard copy to the electronic file. When all of the instructions on any single sheet of paper have been followed, we rip the page in half. That way, there's no risk of coming across the paper again in some other context and finding ourselves uncertain whether we need to do something with it, or if its ready to be tossed.

When you measure the magnitude of your week's work obligations in terms of the height of the stacks of paper piled around your work desk, as editors do, there are few things more satisfying that being able to tear a sheet in half and know that you have banished its demands forever. [P&A]

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Extracts from our author correspondence

Over the course of our working with an author to bring a text to a publishable state of completion, it is par for the course to see many dozens of emails and letters exchanged. It seems a shame at times that the attention, appreciation and rapport on display in this correspondence can't also be shared in the book, alongside and around the text which was its cause for being. There is much in this halo of text-around-the-text that would charm or illuminate the reader. By way of example:

One of our Press authors (an actor, professionally) not long ago wrote to us regarding her novel in progress. Her reflection on novel-writing is a valuable insight into her self-knowledge as a writer:
I find I cannot write but inch-by-inch, word-by-word, like a poet does. Somehow I cannot make the large picture into a motor. The intricate specificity of a chain of moments: this is the province of an actor. I am not a terrible director, but my chief talent is for another type of thought; but I hope maybe someday to come up with not-a-terrible novel. 
And now for a bit of charm. In this excerpt from our correspondence with the same author, she responds to our editor's suggestions for the revision of a line of text. Of the two alternatives proposed, she writes:
The first is clearly lovelier, though you know I liked the image of being on "stilts in a sea of jelly." I'm such a sucker for an unusual metaphor and a clear image. . . I have never cared for poems that play hard to get. I have no time for it in personal relationships, either. A smiler, not smirker. That's my goal. Some would argue this was to my detriment in both cases.
(Emphasis added). The phrase "stilts on a sea of jelly" just begs for focused attention on its playful image, doesn't it? Well: we keep scrupulous records here in the office, so perhaps there will be a time when we produce a 'social text' edition of one of our books. It's a project we shall have to see done someday...

Monday, February 2, 2015

Why Clarion loves interviews

Here at the Clarion desk in the the Pen & Anvil offices (overlooking Boston's beautiful Central Park...), we take special pleasure in interviews with authors and other literary workers: translators, editors, publishers. We love the text, of course, but love as well the way a good interview pulls the curtain back, permitting a peek at the thrill and throng behind the proscenium.

We're especially mindful this week of interviews, as the Clarion staff are working diligently to put Number 18, to bed -- the pair of interviews, with crime writers Eamon Loingsigh and James A. Ring, conducted by editor Jon Maniscalco.

While we look forward to the appearance of those new pieces on the webpage, here are a few other interviews, recommended by the editors, to satisfy your appetite for conversations with creators.

  1. Musician Jack White interviewed by Conan O'Brien (Serious Jibber-Jabber, 2013)
  2. Author R.A. Salvatore interviewed by Sto Austin (15)
  3. Writer E. B. White interviewed by George Plimpton & Frank H. Crowther (The Paris Review, 1969)