The Creative Process– Call for Subscriptions for Fall 2018
The following is the Letter from the Editor for the Fall 2018 issue of Exponent II. Because this issue is devoted to the theme of Mormon women and the creative process, we decided to have our super-creative Layout Editor, Rose Gochnour Serago, write this issue’s letter. Rosie is the person who makes every issue of Exponent II look stunning.
You can subscribe to Exponent II at our shop. Subscribing is the best way you can support the Exponent community. If you already have a subscription, please consider buying someone you love a gift subscription. We depend on our subscribers for the financial viability of the entire organization. To receive the Fall issue, subscribe by October 10, 2018.
The cover art is “In the Beginning” by Lisa DeLong. You can see more of her work here.
We’ve all had times in life when we’ve given someone a gift that wasn’t wrapped. I don’t mean a gift that couldn’t be wrapped; I mean a gift that, with a little more planning and effort, with just a smidgen more time in your day, could have been wrapped.
An unwrapped gift is still meaningful. The wrapping is superfluous in many ways. But after gifting many an unwrapped gift, I’ve learned again and again that wrapped gifts are better.
When I feel best about a gift I’ve wrapped, the process usually goes something like this. I search through my miscellaneous drawers for a simple, natural fiber paper. The wrapping paper is a reflection of me. It’s not Hallmark and it’s not glittery. It’s likely tan butcher’s paper. I dig through more miscellaneous drawers for something that would make a nice tie. I like string or twine, not ribbon. Maybe the earthy cord that bound my farmer’s market carrots. My bows are floppy, not crisp. To top it off, I find a thick marker and I write a note, directly on the paper. I choose my words with care.
When I’m done, the result is not gorgeous. It’s not award winning. Sometimes the paper is newspaper. (But if it is, I probably picked from a good section, carefully avoiding the stock report.) If it’s the semi-annual gift for my domestic goddess, lime green-loving mother-in-law, she’s not going to give the wrapping job any awards.
But to me, it signals that I finished the job. It says I care about this gift — paired with the powerful act of giving — enough to see it through to the end. To tie it up with a simple bow.
This is the philosophy that I carry with me as I digitally pull together the pieces that make up every issue of Exponent II.
I’m the layout editor. What does that mean?
Women send Exponent II their words. Their stories. Their pain. Their joy. Their questions. And I lay out their paragraphs. Column by column, spread by spread. I type the titles and author names, letter by letter.
For the bulk of the body text, I copy and paste, but I carefully look for orphan lines and consider the nuances of breathing room and white space.
Did you know the font size of the body text of every Exponent II article is 9.75? Not 9 or 10. 9.75. A terribly odd font size. But it’s the font size I’ve found gives just enough readability to still be economical with space.
And between each column is a .25” gap. Someone makes that decision, and it’s me. It could be bigger, it could be smaller.
If these decisions sound fussy and somewhat frivolous, that’s fair. They mostly are. But added up, they weave intention through the magazine. All the little details are intentional. That’s what makes a good wrapping job.
And the art. Oh, the art! I am constantly fighting, re-thinking that 9.75 font size. Could we make the words fit a little bit tighter so this beautiful painting could be just a little bit bigger? When laying out 10,000 words, three poems and 15 pieces of art in 40 pages, it’s a game of quarter inches. And I fight for every quarter inch to give each component — and by extension each artist, author and poet — as much space as they deserve.
Because that is my gift to this community.
These women write their words. The artists share their beauty. The proofreaders, copy editors and editors strive for thoroughness and accuracy. And when it comes time to hand it off to our eager readers, I have a chance to wrap the gift.
It would be a lovely gift without any wrapping.
But my layout and design work is my way of saying to all the women reading and contributing to Exponent II: your sentiments, whether written or illustrated, deserve to be wrapped.
Once again: You can subscribe to Exponent II at our shop. Subscribing is the best way you can support the Exponent community. If you already have a subscription, please consider buying someone you love a gift subscription. We depend on our subscribers for the financial viability of the entire organization. To receive the Fall issue, subscribe by October 10, 2018.