Swans Commentary » swans.com July 30, 2012  



Special Summer Issue: Books, Music, Films


Introduction To This Special Summer Issue


by Gilles d'Aymery



Fundraising Drive: Dear readers, here is a summer special edition on books, music, and films, which was imagined, organized, and put together by Manuel García, Jr. -- with the help and guidance from Swans editors. We hope you enjoy the result and have an enriched and peaceful summer. But keep in mind, to maintain Swans with the quality and dependability you have grown used to over the years we need financial help. Ask yourselves the value of our work, and whether you can find a better edited, more trenchant, and thoughtful Web publication that keeps creativity, sanity, and sound thoughts as first priorities. Please help us. Donate now!



(Swans - July 30, 2012)   Manuel García, Jr. estimates that this Special Summer Issue of Swans contains "about 75 book recommendations, 75 music choices, and 75 films all in all, with some repeats," offered by 14 authors with a very diverse background -- a signature of the publication. These authors recommend the œuvres d'art they fancy at the present time.

Manuel should know. He essentially put the entire issue together with some help and guidance from Swans editors. On May 24, 2012, Manuel sent a Letter to the Editor, which we published in the June 4 issue. He suggested that contributors list "their 10 favorite books, 10 favorite works of music (or song), and 10 favorite motion pictures." He called it Les Trente Glorieuses to be published in "a change-of-pace summer edition."

Aware of the considerable amount of work special editions entail I warned Manuel, but recommended that if he wanted to move ahead he'd get a sense of our regular contributors' interest. He posted an e-mail to our internal mailing list, and the response was quite positive. After various discussions we reached a consensus, limiting the entries to 5 or 6 for each category, though Manuel expressed his flexibility and said he would work with all the lists he received -- which he did. Deadline was fixed to July 14, 2012, Bastille Day, with publication date on July 30.

Manuel took the bull by the horns and ran with it. He posted a series of e-mails to the list regarding the format he had in mind, and contacted individual contributors directly. His main motto was flexibility and having fun. We had a small hiccup regarding the HTML formatting. I then formatted the first piece he received, that of Greg Elich, posted it on the site for him to see, and sent him the template. It took us a few days to make it work, but we did. Manuel exercised a lot of patience and diplomacy with everybody, especially this editor. While he assured the contributors that he would not alter their texts, he elected to reorganize and edit three pieces, choices that Jan and I accepted -- just as we accepted the order he recommended for the front page. Finally, we decided not to include any hyperlinks (there would have been much too many) knowing that readers can do a Google search on any work about which they wish to know more.

I am emphasizing Manuel's role because he did, I would reckon, close to 70 percent of the work, from coming up with the idea, corresponding with all, doing much of the formatting, writing meta-words and titles. (According to him, he worked between 8 and 10 days, spending between 56 and 80 hours on the project.) I did help and provided some advice as well as finishing the HTML formatting, and Jan did the final editing touches, but this Special Summer Edition is the result of his commitment to see it through and his considerable effort. It is worth noting that in 16 years of publishing Swans this is the first and only time that an issue has been produced by someone else other than Jan and me. Of course, one should not forget the time spent by all the contributors -- this was a challenging assignment.

So, let me leave you with Manuel's words: "I'm looking forward to the appearance of the Summer Special, and have high hopes it will find a wider audience. [...] Also, without being a withdrawal from reality (for too long), the Summer Special will be an entirely 'happy' issue, a chance to celebrate life through culture, and just have fun before allowing the grim realities (like glum politics and violent social tragedies) once again to call for our attention in the pages of Swans."

May he be proven correct. Enjoy.


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About the Author

Gilles d'Aymery on Swans -- with bio. He is Swans' publisher and co-editor.   (back)


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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
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Published July 30, 2012