Really, all I thought I was going to do was some formatting and making pdf’s. At least, in the fall of 2009, when I offered to “help out a little”, that’s what I had in mind. I’d only been in the Guild half a year, after all…they only put experienced people in charge of stuff, right?
In the last four-plus years, being Publications Chair has been alternately fascinating, nerve-wracking, and enlightening. It’s given me a quarterly opportunity to put work out there that I don’t have a chance to re-edit a hundred times. It’s given me an appreciation for deadlines that I hadn’t gotten popular enough to otherwise enjoy. As an added bonus, I’ve gotten to know some of the finest writers in the state. Shoot, anywhere. The position has given me unique exposure to literature and the people who create it; to see the non-writing talents that writers possess. While I’m relieved that I can spend my lately-diminished spare time on my actual writing, I will certainly miss it.
Besides, I had it easy: I can’t imagine what the job must have been like before the internet, when everything took place via snail mail and I would have had to use the phone. That wouldn’t have gone well, the whole using-the-phone thing. That’s why I got into engineering and not sales.
Most of what I did was formatting and editing. The editing was perhaps the hardest, since everything I received was of good quality, and early on I battled with the feeling that every backspace or delete keystroke was an indictment of the contributor’s skills. Still, editing is a necessary evil in any collective work. Some people would contribute a past-tense second person Peer Pointer, for example, while the next would give me a present-tense first person submission. Sometimes I ran out of room and had to chop for length. At the best of times I could find the kernel of the story easily, like trimming that strip of fat off the side of a good New York strip. Other times I stood, knife poised in hand, over a filet mignon with the bacon already attached.
Excuse me for a minute…I think I’ll go fire up the grill.
As much as I liked working with everyone, and staying current on the members’ many accomplishments and successes, however, I ran out of time to give the position justice. Work—that necessary evil that must continue until I can generate more than a few dozen dollars of sales a year—had not only begun to intrude on my free time, it barreled over it like an NFL linebacker on a junior high Guard. What little free time I had needed to be invested in my family, and the publications took the meager portion that remained. My own work suffered. In fact, this is probably the longest piece I’ve written in a while.
But all that will change, For whoever steps up having the same spirit of wanting to get involved that I had five years ago. I’m sure our new volunteer do a great job and I look forward to the contributions the members will continue to share. I’m especially excited about being one of those contributing members.
Remember, folks, the Broadside is not the Publications Chair’s work – it’s yours. While our new publications chair will be the nexus of the action and make sure we all speak the same language, they’ll need you to feed the information. I’m sure that you’ll continue to do so, as you’ve done for me, and I can’t wait to see all of the members’ accomplishments in future issues.
Greg M. Hall, North Bend
In the interim, between Publications Chair People, Annette Snyder has taken over the duty. Watch the Yahoo Loop and media pages for notices on sending information…or send whenever the mood strikes. Please consider taking over, she’s got a real job, and NWG secretary duties, and her writing as well and she’s not interested in doing it forever…but she’s streamlining the process which should make it easier in the long run.
Also: a GIANT thank you to Greg Hall. Our organization is better because he’s done this all these years!