Members' Showcase 1999
September 22, 1999
"I'm not an editor. I'm an indexer." So began my meandering through the Editors' Forum annual Show 'N Tell. A.L. McClellan, Ph.D. in Chemistry, specializes in constructing indexes for scientific and medical tomes, and Ambulatory Obstetrics, a 1,000-page plus reference, was drawing continuous oohs and aahs.
"Do indexers have to actually read the material?" I asked innocently.
"Yes. I read everything I index three times." First he skims the material, then he vets it, and finally he marks it.
My next stop was D. Patrick Miller's table space, where I found my attention directed toward The Complete Story of A Course in Miracles, Miller's magnum opus. The book explores the story behind A Course in Miracles, a contemporary spiritual document written through a woman who channeled a spirit claiming to be Jesus Christ. Miller has also authored the psychospiritual work A Little Book of Forgiveness and is currently working on a novel of "visionary fiction." Check out Fearless Books for more info.
"That's a U.S. Government pen!" I heard from Linda Turnowski, head of the editorial department at a market research firm. "Where did you get that?" she pursued. "Uh . . . can I interview you?" I diverted, staring back in feigned innocence. "Sure!" (She was right about the pen, but I have no idea when or how I got my hands on it.)
"Is this your work?" I asked, staring down at European SDH and Transplant Networks.
"Yes, but this book is unusually thin; most of these are much thicker and heavier."
"Do you enjoy editing this stuff?"
"Telecommunications is an interesting subject but not something you'd choose to read on a rainy day." Understood.
Next I found myself looking into the expressive eyes of Barbara Milligan, author of Desperate Hope, a book evolving from interviews she conducted over a three-year period with women suffering from breast cancer. Writing the book was an emotional experience for Barbara. "A lot of the women died, but the ones who did, died with a sense of hope, a sense of having met God and the hope of being with God. They died with a sense that there was a purpose to their lives and deaths.
The dynamic Hillary Powers greeted me with a smile and a table full of books. Hillary edits publications covering a variety of subjects, but her forté is management and public affairs. Her favorite? Leader to Leader, a quarterly publication that takes you into "life in Fortune 500 land." "Just pick it up and hold it and you feel rich and famous." She was right. Designed to sit on the coffee tables of CEOs, Leader to Leader is more than a showpiece. The articles are insightful and concrete, each and every one written by a company president or CEO. No wonder it's so expensive.
I wonder if everyone at the meeting ran their fingers over the tire tread on the cover of Fat Tire, a book on mountain biking edited by David Featherstone. I know I did. Also on display was In Focus, a book series that features famous photographers. David, a photographer in his own right, has the honor of periodically moderating marathon discussions among eight or nine photography scholars who discuss a master photographer, such as Man Ray. David then condenses and refines the voluminous transcriptions of these meetings into the little pearls that make up the series.
Nostradamus - The Complete Prophesies. [Wow!] Elaine Obadia, developmental editor. Soul Without Shame, India on a Thousand Dollars a Day . . . "How would you characterize these books?" I asked, sensing a common thread but unable to put my finger on it.
"The intersection of depth psychology and spirituality." Bingo. Developing works written by various gurus of philosophy, Elaine's most satisfying project was working on Journey from Anxiety to Freedom, by Mani Feniger, a multi-year project in which Elaine worked hand-in-hand with the author from the idea stage through completion of the manuscript.
Kristi Hein keeps her fingers in a lot of pies. Editing everything from garden books (The Complete Land Designer) to jazz (Chasin' That Devil Music) Kristi explains, "I like variety." Of particular interest was the Art of the State series, which Kristi copyedited online.
"Every one of these books will make you want to go to those states." Kristi is also enthusiastic about the books she's worked on by Quokka Sports, an "immersion sports Web site." People can log on to these sites and get info about major sporting events, like the Olympics or around-the-world sailboat races, and "participate" in sporting events in virtual reality.
My last stop for the evening was the knapsack of Sara Shopkow, an in-house technical editor for Lucent Technologies. "I'm changing my title to word wrangler." My eyes glazed as I spied several glimmering technical manuals for Lucent Technologies. "Is your work interesting?" I asked undiplomatically.
"It's endlessly fascinating—it's always changing." I didn't expect to hear that. Not coming from a technical background herself, Sara derives great satisfaction from working with technical people and translating their writings from gobbledygook into something intelligible to the common people. Actually, that does sound rewarding. The common people thank you, Sara.