The Penultimate Plunge

Dive No.: Week Five (Five dives)
Location: Pudding (For that’s where the proofs are)

Time in: 9 am
Time out: 5pm

Total Bottom Time: About 40 hours

Depth: Up to my eyeballs in it

Starting Air Pressure: Penultimate PSIs
Ending Air Pressure: Enough for the journey’s last leg (and my lungs)

Exposure Protection:
˙ Business Casual
˙ Thinking cap
˙ Self-confidence
˙ My contacts couldn’t touch the kind of visual aid I needed
˙ Paper-cut guards

Weight: The stack of folders couldn’t make me fold

Air: Hazy
On the surface: Eyes burning
Bottom line: Great degree of attention to detail required

˙ Fresh water (Fresh eyes would have been more welcome)
˙ Salt water (Optical outcry)
˙ Shore (Lots of making sure and re-re-re-checking)
˙ Boat (Getting ready to ship)
˙ Waves (We’ve reached the crest)

Visibility: Love is blind; I’m going blind for what I love.

For the most part this week proceeded as usual: a little posting here (including
another online original!), some fact-checking there, a dive-group-wide gathering
way over there (back in zone one which is really like zone zero, it’s so desolate)
because SEO guru Cami had some web tips to share. The continual Internet
instruction is invaluable in this digital age.

But something new, which although essential, must grow old for the editorial staff,
was passing around proofs. Sport Diver’s October issue had come of age, but before
she can meet her prints (pun intended) she must be paraded, multiple times, before
the critical eye of the staff so we can find and fix any imperfections. First, her plain
paper pieces were parceled out in folders. To say the odds were stacked against me
to finish my towering pile in a timely fashion would have neglected all of the even
pages. Oh, so many pages!

Anyway, armed with pen and pencil, we blotted out all of her blemishes. A copy
editor tries to catch all typos and grammatical errors. The editors put the final
touches on, including captions and tweaking headlines. The photo editor places
all photographer credits. The art director checks folios (page numbers) and then
readies all pages for “twisting,” which is when she uses software to direct Bonnier’s
in-house prepress department to create the Epsons.

An Epson printer, part of prepress

An Epson printer, part of prepress

Finally! October appeared all dressed up in her glossy Epsons, to take a final turn about the office, giving us one last chance to make alterations. I hated to pick on her, but I’m glad to have picked up on some final flaws. When errors are caught at this stage, the art director has to retwist the page.

Spelling error I caught; fof means fixed on file

Spelling error found; fof means fixed on file

Blurry-eyed but gratified to have helped produce a beauty, I was set on a project I
was sure to succeed at: an excel-like spreadsheet compiling all of the countries and
islands we had covered in Sport Diver from January to present. The two grape-sized
organs stuck in my eye sockets began to gripe and I felt like I was held captive by the
spreadsheet’s cells. But I did it! Listed them all from sea to shining sea, even though
at this point I no longer could. (The Sport Diver team will use as they plan content for
2014, so that they can avoid repetition.)

But having vision for the future is important, as was reflected in our meeting to
discuss the format for Sport Diver’s November/December feature and the fact that
I’m working on gathering information for the January/February issue. Several of
the print articles I wrote — for Sport Diver’s front-of-the-book section called “Dive
Briefs” — are slated for publication in the November/December issue. It’s weird to
be planning that far ahead, but 2014 will upstage 2013 before I realize what’s going
down. After all, 6 weeks is turning out to seem more like 60 seconds, but what I’ve
learned in this “minute” is much more than minutiae.


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