by Mark Stash
John “Hannibal” Smith, one of the characters from the A-team television show and movie has said “I love it when a plan comes together.” Well, I love it when a magazine issue comes together.
Often a magazine issue begins its life almost a year before it’s published. Freelance writers and photographers will approach me with story ideas during a season, such as autumn for example. Since the timing is usually too late for the current year’s magazine, they can then go out and shoot photos at their leisure for next year’s autumn issue. Plus, they have almost a full 10 months to research and write on their subject.
Throughout the year leading up to an issue, other article ideas will come across my desk, although these days I should say ideas are delivered to my email inbox. It’s very exciting for an editor when some new and fresh ideas are presented by writers. I am always amazed at how many great story ideas are still out there, even though we’ve been covering the Finger Lakes Region for almost 14 years.
Every issue has a few regular departments, such as Fruit of the Vine and How to Be a Better Photographer, among others. I know I can count on those articles for every issue.
Sometimes, a freelancer will propose an article much closer to the editorial deadline, and that article will become a part of the issue because either the timing is great or the subject matter is just too good to pass up. There are no set rules for article acceptance. What I look for is a variety of subjects that complement each other and that offer a great reading experience. Sometimes, it’s almost an instinctual thing – knowing what articles to choose.
Every issue seems to have a unique personality and theme that comes about mostly from the collection of articles that exist within the publication. For instance, this September/October issue has two articles about art shows and galleries, and two articles about cemeteries. Now that’s an interesting combination – it’s certainly eclectic. And that’s one of the goals of Life in the Finger Lakes – to bring a diversity of articles that are of interest to you, the reader.
The article about the Naples Open Studio Trail is close to my heart, since I am a part of the trail. I have an art studio/gallery at my home in Rushville. Every year now for the past four years I’ve opened my studio to the public so they can see where I create my paintings and talk to me about my art. To me, being creative is an important and fulfilling part of my life. The art trail is a vehicle that enables me to nurture my creative side, for which I am thankful. I’m also excited to be a part of the trail because of the other artists involved. It’s amazing to me how many world-class artists exist within a small region of the Finger Lakes. I encourage you to visit the trail this year during the first weekend of October and experience art in all its varieties.