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Publication date: 24 February, 2023
Sitting down to write these welcome pieces is a bit like an artist standing in front of a blank canvas. I’m never quite sure of what’s going to come out, but once I get started, things just seem to flow. I’ve worked in publishing for over 20 years, on subjects as varied as classic military vehicles, seasonal food, the commercial fishing industry, keeping poultry and pigs, and making pottery. I regard editing as a ‘process’, and if you have expert contributors, it’s not essential for you to know about the subject when you first start. But it’s a pretty steep- and essential-learning curve! If you’re lucky, you enjoy taking on all that new knowledge. I am lucky, and of all the titles I’ve worked on, it’s the creative ones that I’ve really fallen in love with and have brought into my non-work life. As an adult, I now have the confidence to try something, be bad at it, but carry on. Eventually, you get better, and maybe even good. But, for me, ‘good’ doesn’t have to be the end goal. The pleasure I gain, while I’m learning and improving, is the most enjoyable thing. My parents always told my sister she was brilliant at art, while my efforts went unnoticed or dismissed. To a child, this is tantamount to saying they are positively bad at art, so I just stopped. Becky Gouverneur has some very wise words on this subject (see page 22), and I wish my parents had known better. But, all’s well that end’s well. I love working with the SAA on Paint and Create, and guess whose office is under threat of being turned into something with better lighting and an easel?