Thursday, April 30, 2015

Publishing Again – But Not for Long

The day in February when I arrived back on the island in Bahrain after baby LW’s birth, the President of the American Women’s Association, LW contacted me.  She was very sweet, but I knew she wanted me to be involved with a committee that was meeting the NEXT day.

Jet lagged, tired, not unpacked – I headed out to a location unknown to help a committee of the AWA with a book project.

I should have known I was doomed as I got lost twice trying to find the villa where the meeting would take place.  I should blog about how they organize (or do not organize) streets and signage in Bahrain. It is appalling.

No street signs, no numbers on buildings, you have to learn landmarks!
When I finally arrived I was surprised there were 8 other ladies there.  This was looking good.  We talked for a while and I (of course) shared my baby pictures.  Everyone who meets me for the first time has to endure my pictures of baby LW.

I love this one most.  Our good friend SW says D and baby LW have the same barber. This comment always gets a chuckle from anyone I show the photo.

I just love this picture. Baby LW is less than 3 weeks old. Aren't they so cute?

The AWA committee was creating a book to document the history of AWA in Bahrain. AWA was celebrating their 40 Anniversary. They wanted to put all the history of the past 40 yeas along with some personal tributes from current members and past members into a book that could sit on your coffee table and be a testament to the history of AWA.

I had someone snap this picture of me with the American Ambassador at the AWA luncheon to celebrate the 40th anniversary.

American Ambassador, Thomas C. Krajeski speaking at the AWA meeting.
The idea for this AWA historical document came from President LW.  She had the vision of a beautiful book that would showcase the impact of AWA in the Bahraini community as well as share the positive impact AWA has had on current and past members of AWA. This was sort of an AWA Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Great goal, fantastic idea, BIG PROJECT.

When the magazine was 20 years old, we created this great cover showing some of my favorite covers over the years. I thought 20 years was a long time - AWA is looking at 40 years!
The committee had already uploaded thousands of photos to an Internet site easily accessible for creation of the book pages.  They had also scanned HUNDREDS of historical photos and press clippings that were stored in old AWA scrapbooks.

I agreed to share my expertise and help out a bit if I could.

On the day I left my office at the magazine after the close of the sale, I thought my publishing days were over.  WRONG. . . .
I strongly warned the committee that my graphic skills were extremely limited. When I published Washington FAMILY Magazine, I had several skilled graphic artists on staff I supervised, but doing the work was not in my portfolio.

I know every reader out there is smiling because they know what happens -- I was sucked in. I was doomed from the beginning.  They needed my skills.

We used to have a great archive online of copies of the magazine. I kept a link to it after I sold the magazine. Unfortunately, the new owners opted to change the service for online archives and all of my old magazines online were deleted.

At first it was a struggle to create pages. I had to learn InDesign all over again. I was never very good at it – PageMaker I could do in my sleep – but InDesign was too much like Photoshop and Illustrator.  Those were programs I left to the graphics people.  If I ever needed anything complex I would call EL or KS, my long time graphics designers. Either one of them could do anything in ALL of those programs!

As the project developed, it became more of a graphic design job for just two of us.  CS and I worked on the pages for over 8 weeks. She had never worked in InDesign as well and so we learned together. Although she does know Photoshop so she had a leg up on me. Together, we probably logged several hundreds of hours of work. (SEVERAL is an understatement.)

I have to tell you about CS.  She is a watercolor artist, and a very good one.  I love her work.  I have commissioned her to do a painting for me of the traditional dhow ships in Bahrain but unfortunately, she has been tied up with this big project (THIS BOOK!) for over two months so I don’t have my painting yet.  Hint, hint to CS!  LOL

Here we are working on our pages.
CS and I snapped this at one of the AWA morning coffees.

My computer and my large monitor really came in handy when we were reviewing the page progress.  The first meeting at my flat to review pages took over 5 hours. However, it was fantastic to get feedback from the committee that we were moving in the right direction.

Here we are at the second and final review of the book pages. This review also took over 5 hours. However, it was a good use of our time. Everyone had extremely valuable input.

Just like every month at the magazine, as we neared the deadline, the work became more hectic and stressful.  I told my hubby D that I felt like I was back at the magazine in the old days when I did a lot of the work myself.  I could feel my back tensing up and I could not sleep at night worrying about a page or a specific problem with the layout.

I started waking up at 2AM and 3AM to get up and work.

Finally the big day arrived.  CS and I finished our page design – all 210 pages.  Yes, you heard me right.  210 pages.  HUGE!!!

Our files totaled over 27 Gigabytes.

Off to the printer I went with hard drive in hand thinking my job was just about finished.  But, no!  I was wrong.

This blog is like those movies where at the end you can tell there is a sequel coming.  I am gong to save the story of what happened when I went to the printer for another blog posting.

Hint - I will also be posting a picture of the front cover of the book in that blog post.  :-)

The big reason for this is that I am going to stop writing. I am going to go relax in our lovely living room, read the newspaper and cook a lovely brunch with my wonderful husband who has put up with my “volunteer” job getting in the way of a relaxed and wonderful life at home with his loving wife.

I am going to go sip strong coffee while I enjoy the view of the Arabian Sea from our living room.
Hubby D just came back to my office and reminded me he is waiting for me...
See you soon! Gotta run. . . . . just had my second reminder from D to come join him.  LOL


No comments:

Post a Comment