Wednesday, September 24, 2008

For editors (and writers too)

Tom Jenks, an editor at Narrative magazine, wrote on the death of Rust Hills, a longtime editor at Esquire magazine. His job, of course, was different than ours in many ways; the quote relates to fiction (thus the word 'literary'.) But I like the spirit of this quote, of what it says about teamwork and respect and humility:

"The editor serves writer and reader, and if the material is literary, then the task is its own reward. Right-minded editors experience themselves as fortunate to dwell at the intersection of chance, where art can occur and meet appreciation. Without the writer’s work, the editor scarcely exists, and if the work is worthwhile and if it gains recognition, then the editor may accurately say that good news for one is good news for all. Something wonderful has entered the world."

So: Help each other do good work, don't worry about who gets the credit, and take your reward from the fact that you've helped put something meaningful in front of our readers.