When I began wading into editing Issue One’s manuscripts, I quickly realized I needed help. I saw the need for an experienced editor who could bring expertise and tact to the table. The very first person to come to mind was a blogger I had recently befriended named Jim McConnell. McConnell’s writing over at The Daily Skep impressed me right out the gate. His candid, personal, and fluid word crafting was unlike most of the other writing I had seen online. Jim’s training and previous experience as a writer and editor clearly set his work apart from the rest. When I approached Jim about his availability to join the Mortise & Tenon team, I was delighted to hear his enthusiasm. I already knew this guy was nuts about hand tools but I really enjoyed watching Jim interact with the articles in such a fresh and personal way. His genuine passion for the topic shined through in every revision he sent me.
I never could have done what Jim has done for these articles. It requires great skill to know how to rework a sentence that is mostly understandable but a bit clunky sounding without completely re-writing the author’s words. It was very important to me as I developed this magazine that I allowed each author’s voice to stand on its own without homogenizing it to sound like all the other articles. Simply put, I trust my authors. If I contact them to write for me, it’s because I already like the way they express their thoughts. Jim was masterful in the way he worked the manuscript as little as possible to preserve the writer’s voice while at the same time wonderfully clarifying authorial intent. It is amazing to me that when I read each article I don’t hear Jim’s voice. I hear Freddy. I hear Martin. I hear George.
As wonderfully invisible as his work is in the final product, his contribution brought inestimable value to this inaugural Issue. Without his careful massaging of the manuscripts, some of our words could have left readers confused or detached from the text. Woodworkers are not writers. Writers are writers. And Jim really made us look good. So, if you appreciated the writing in Issue One, certainly drop a note to the author and let them know but after that make sure you contact Jim and give him the praise he deserves. I’m honored to have him on the team and look forward to having him dive into the manuscripts for Issue Two.