Taking great pains for a magazine

Published 9:52 pm Thursday, October 27, 2011

I’ve never really given much thought to the meaning of the word “painstaking,” until I began working on this latest edition of Suffolk Living. For those of you who love the magazine and want some behind-the-scenes insights on how it comes to be, it’s good to embrace the implications of the word right from the start.

First, there are many things to consider when publishing a magazine about life in Suffolk. Themes, stories, locations and photography are just a few. For me, that’s the easy part. Working in collaboration with the fine staff at Suffolk Publications affords me the opportunity to mix minds with some good people to come up with ideas we think people in Suffolk will enjoy. So far, I think we’ve managed to hit that mark with each publication.

But, it’s when the plan is set and the execution phase of the magazine begins that the painstaking efforts by every member of the Suffolk Publications staff truly come to light. Being involved with Suffolk Living on so many fronts — from design, photography and printing to even writing the occasional story — I know it takes an incredible amount of care and effort to wrap all the little juicy morsels of work into one big published cake.

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It is in the execution phase that I have experienced the real pain of “painstaking.” Making a magazine happen with such a small staff involves everything from photo shoots to long nights of page design. For a guy who hasn’t seen the inside of a gym since “Pulp Fiction” was in theaters, it’s a real workout to deliver the good work Suffolk deserves to see in its magazine.

There’s equipment to carry. There’s sitting, kneeling, and all kinds of squatting involved in getting just the right angle for a photograph. At the end of a series of magazine shoots, my back, legs, arms and every other imaginable part of my body tends to ache.

As I learned in college as an art major, though, what’s even more painful is getting a poor reception for my work. So, no matter what amount of pain I might have to take to help make Suffolk Living, it’s definitely worth it to know that you all enjoy it.

Sometimes the trouble is minor, like a playful lick on the head by an overzealous dog (Hi, Rosie!). And sometimes it’s the pain of looking around and realizing that in a room with three fat guys, one of whom was Santa Claus (not to be a namedropper or anything, but yes, I’ve hung out with Santa), my belly was the one that most resembled a big bowl of jelly.

I am willing to endure these indignities and all the physical pangs to continue giving the good people of Suffolk the high-quality magazine that they deserve.

And if you’re wondering about the quality of magazine you’ll get in November, let’s just say I’ve gone through a bottle and a half of industrial-strength pain relievers this month.