Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The long, long journey of one Watsonian.

Way back in early February, the deadline for the spring issue of The Watsonian came around. Remember February, that cold, cold month when we were still going to movies and living our lives? Every spring issue of that Watson-based journal starts in February. This year, however, it's journey into my hands was a bit more epic than usual.

The editing process on that issue of The Watsonian began in February, of course. A piece or two trickled in as it did, still making the issue. Elinor Gray, Rowan MacBean, Elise Elliott, Mary Alcaro, James McArthur, and Jen Snyder all pitching in to read over the pieces, help clean them up, and make a few suggestions to the writers. As we edited, the world began to transform itself into a pandemic landscape, but nevertheless, by March 23, we had finished our initial task. Elinor Gray took on layout responsibilities -- The Watsonian really does have a rather fancy layout -- with Ariana Maher's guidance as she moved on from that role and some scheduled meetings, and by the end of April it was pretty well in hand.

May saw the journal at the printer, who let us know that they had been designated "an essential business" by their governor, yet were running on shorter days with smaller staff due to pandemic concerns. By the end of May, our Selena Buttons (Beth Gallego) got the proofs of the issue, and I know my copy seems to have been mailed June 15th, according to its envelope. By June 27, issues were starting to arrive in the hands of Watsonians, and, happily, I started to hear good things.

But did The Watsonian make it to my mailbox before today, July 7, 2020?  Nope. Not sure what was up with that postal journey from New Jersey. But here's the thing:

Now that this "five months in the making" journal arrived at my house, I find that we have published a freakin' 140 page book. You'd think that the editor-in-chief would be aware of such a thing, and I did go through the PDF, but there's nothing like the weight of an actual book in your hand.

Crossing that finish line after five months in a world that none of us saw coming when we took on The Watsonian definitely had more of a feeling of accomplishment than the previous issue. I know everyone involved was dealing with a lot more than just putting out a journal on Sherlock Holmes's best buddy. We've gotten used to some of pandemic life, but it's still hitting us, and here we are at the starting line all over again, with the fall issue's deadline on August 15. (Adjusted back a couple of weeks after this spring's late run.) But, looking at this monster issue now in my hands, I think we'll be okay.

So, if you have Watson-related fact, fiction, art, songs, poetry, prose, puzzles, or print entertainments of anything else that will fit in a journal, consider sending it along to publisher@johnhwatsonsociety.com for next issue. There's even a potential theme of Watson's life before army medical, if you're looking for a prompt. Who'd he love, who'd he lose, what made John H. Watson the man he came to be?

Gotta love a John H. Watson, as well as a thick old journal about him. Hoping for another.

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