The new issue has finally arrived. The nice man from St. Jacob’s Printery popped in with about a dozen boxes of the latest issue. I immediately got up to help him. One, because my Mama taught me always to help others, and two, because I was eager to rip open the boxes so I could glide my hands over that gorgeous, glossy cover.

I had that look on my face. The one where your smile grows toward the edge of your face and your eyes open wide. And perhaps that same look you get when you run to see the presents under the Christmas tree (I would imagine, as I don’t actually celebrate the holiday).

I calmed myself down, set one of the boxes down on the table, and cut it open from the middle to reveal this:

Yes, I agree, it is a beauty. That soft plum-coloured top, framing the captivating photo of a beggar, sitting on Rome’s Spanish steps. Coming from a Fine Arts background, I always tend to look at things in a visual sense first. There was an arresting presence in this image that held me like a conversation. I was particularily drawn to the haunting shadow creeping up on this woman as she sits still, lost in her own world. This photograph absolutely blew my mind and it was so fascinating to be a part of the whole process of choosing the cover image. The other options (which you will never see ha ha) were also great, facilitating different emotions like joy or curiousity, but I have no doubt in my mind that this was the best choice.

After snapping out of my new-magazine trance, I flipped through the issue, immediately turning to the masthead page. Since I don’t quite have the right words to describe the experience, here are some visuals:

I smile just writing about this. I look forward to showing it off to my family.

Yesterday, we all headed over to central stores to stuff our brand new issues with subscription cards and notices.  The mailing house is located in what you could describe as “no man’s land.” We had to walk because everyone’s cars had been stolen by spouses, but it was a fun trek over as the weather was beautiful—although I wouldn’t say the same for Melissa and Kim, as they were wearing high heels. Yikes! But once we got there, we rolled up our sleeves, arranged ourselves into an assembly line, and got right to it! Kim stuffed the issues with subscription cards, I folded renewal notices, and Melissa wrapped them around the issues and piled them in bins (oh the glamour of working for a literary magazine!).

Back at the office after another lovely walk, we prepared issues for the newsstand. This was a bit more relaxed as we worked while listening to a very interesting podcast playing in the background (this was the first occasion that I actually enjoyed a podcast).

As repetitive as all this may seem, I had a lot of fun doing it. It’s funny because I’ve been on the other side of things where you receive a book or magazine in the mail. It arrives, all shiny and new, and 5 minutes later, the magic wears off. But this time,  I got the back stage experience. I helped process countless submissions, listened in on Kim picking through the good, bad, and the ugly, as well as watched Melissa miraculously pull together all the elements. After seeing them put so much sweat and blood into this (not literally of course, unless you count paper cuts), I value how much hard work goes into each and every issue.