Happy November, TPSers! Believe it or not, Halle, Raelen, and Jack have all had simultaneous nervous breakdowns due to the sheer amount of college essays and applications they’ve sent out, leaving the responsibility of writing this month’s editor’s note to your Junior Editors: Ian, Piper, and Jacey. (Or so they told us–we have heard rumors of vacations to Tahiti.) Because of this sudden power shift, we felt that this would be a great opportunity to inform you all of what the life of an editor looks like behind the scenes of clay. Before we begin, however, do note that the following narrative may prove harmful to the reader’s mental sanity: proceed with caution.
Due to the nature of this note’s title, you might be wondering, what exactly do the editors of clay, well, do? Contrary to popular opinion, most of us are not high school students by day, supervillains by night. However, we may well be in possession of superhuman abilities, as we tend to spend our time juggling calculus homework and SAT prep alongside the duties of our highly esteemed editorial positions. You can find us materializing from thin air at unexpected moments to denounce the overuse of exclamation marks or plotting to usurp the Senior Editors with a heinous, sparkly combination of umbrellas and unicorns.
Because we spend much of our time balancing homework and editing articles, the arrival of the holiday season comes as a source of tremendous relief to us editors (yes, perhaps even more so than for our other fellow scholarly sufferers). Holidays allow us to devote a week or two to editing and editing alone; all other popular forms of enjoyment are abominations to the true spirit of small e-zine publication. Break presents us with an opportunity to catch up with the other editors, improve our editing techniques, ask the Senior Editors if they will buy us nice Christmas gifts, and edit even more. Consequently, we revise articles while feasting on Thanksgiving turkey and relish the existence of the Oxford comma on cruises to the Bahamas on Christmas.
However, our jobs aren’t all fun and glory. Despite being incredibly sage linguists, we do have our faults. For instance, we are often under the impression that the very magazine we labor for endlessly still goes by the name the Cracked Pot. Practically every time we wish to read our e-zine, we type “tpscrackedpot.org” in the search bar and gasp in dismay upon realizing we now work for clay. Thankfully for us, however, the clay magazine website pops up anyways. Our reputations have been spared . . . at least until we decide to tell the public in an editor’s note (whoops).
In addition to dealing with this temporary memory lapse, we have often been forced to edit in . . . shall we say, unique environments. Jacey considers herself quite accomplished, having perhaps proofread dictatorial proclamations and Doctor Who interviews while exercising on an elliptical machine cramped in a tiny AC room while working physics problems, or in another case, while babysitting a rather wild two-year-old brother. For some reason, the two-year old was not impressed. Ian, determined to take the realm of editing to an even higher echelon, has participated in spontaneous rock editing sessions by blasting Bohemian Rhapsody and other quality songs at full volume, all the while nitpicking at punctuation placement. In any case, columnists, think about where your article has been the next time your drafts are returned.
Despite all the aforementioned commotion, the most gratifying part of editing really is sitting down to thoroughly peruse the roughest of rough drafts as they come to our inboxes. It’s always a pleasure to bring out the natural beauty in each of our columnists’ pieces so they reach their full potential as Pulitzer-Prize-worthy examples of journalism. (When our writers become famous, we ask that they remember their humble editor friends.) To gain a wide variety of insight on how to best edit these articles, we also conduct professional discussions among ourselves in an extremely sophisticated Hangouts group chat, the transcript of which may or may not contain several unicorn memes and shrouded threats of mutiny.
All shenanigans aside, we are extremely grateful to be a part of such a wholesome, invigorating community of creative minds. It’s our privilege to use our positions behind the scenes of clay as an opportunity to motivate those struggling under the weight of their work and whatever else might be taking place in their busy lives. We don’t merely spend our days adding commas and inserting spaces for ellipses; we also find ourselves guiding our writers’ creative trains of thought, smoothing out the rough spots in their articles, and making it our goal to know our columnists’ work better than anyone else–to help them write the pieces they want to write and say the ideas they want to say. As the link between the readers and writers of clay, we find one of our greatest joys in watching our columnists grow as writers or artists. We find happiness in reading inspiring comments on the articles they have worked so hard on and in getting to know our writers better each month. At the end of the day, despite the mental exertion, the unicorn pranks, and the other demanding aspects of being an editor, we love using our positions at clay to develop lasting relationships and make the values of TPS known to the world.
~ Ian, Piper, and Jacey
(Arts and Culture and Humor Editors, Pranksters, Comma Admirers, Incredibly Sleep-Deprived Scholars, Mutineers, etc.)