Throughout my early years of education, my father taught me an important lesson. To fear the red pen. Growing up if my sisters and I needed help on an essay or a paper, we would give them to him at the dinner table and watch as he marked, slashed and destroyed the work in front of him. He checked the grammar, sentence structure and logic of the essays he was reading. As I got older the power of the red pen became something I wanted to wield myself.
After reading the article, The Paris Review Origin Story and Their Secret to the Art of the Interview. One important point I took away from the article was to do your homework and humility. I decided to incorporate this my interview style when talking to my father.With his superior knowledge of grammar and the red pen, it was no surprise when he told me of his experience being published. below is a record of the conversation with my dad about his own experience about being published.
How old were you when you were first published?
What was the name of the magazine you were involved in and what year was it published?
I was published twice in Scale Auto Enthusiast magazine in Fall of 1982 and Summer of 1983 I believe.
What exactly was it that you had published?
In 1982 I reviewed a model kit from Germany – not yet available in US at the time. As I built the model I photographed it, and later wrote a 4 page article – which received very little, if any editing. In 1983 I wrote a feature article with photos about the models of armored cars I had built.
Was there a conversation between you and the publisher since, as you say, there was little editing required?
No….I think I wrote them a letter about my proposed article, and they wrote back welcoming my submission, and informing me that they paid $15/per published page. I submitted my photos and a long hand written piece. I was very surprised when the complete piece was published.
Did you submit the work of your own volition or where you sought after by employees of the magazine? I took the initiative – I was looking to share my experience and offer something interesting to my fellow modelers.
Did the editors ever contact you again looking for more work from you to publish?
No…..they had regular writers who handled columns on different topics. I suspect I could have submitted further pieces had I been so inclined.
How did it feel seeing your name in print?
I was proud and pleased…..I also was gratified at how well received my piece was, and did not second-guess how I presented the material.
Is there anything else you would like to add about the experience?
I had my models appear on other occasions in Scale Auto, along with a popular trucking publication called Overdrive. I wish I had written more pieces in those days….people tell me today that they remember my models from those days, when I chat with them on Facebook.
My dad has found a new hobby in the social media era and has gained quite the recognition from the trucking community, for his updates to Facebook of trucking photos he has collected over the passed forty some odd years.
When reviewing the article during the interview, my dad happened to find a mistake in the article that was possibly overlooked by the editor. Though my father attributes the typo to his long handed letter. However, it is interesting that even in high level publishing mistakes are still made. Upon further inspection the magazines they appear to have been around for quite sometime and is still going strong today. Having this discussion with my dad also taught me a lot about him when he was my age because while I knew of the article, I didn’t know much of the details of the process or what it was actually about for that matter. Nor did I know that he appeared in more than one magazine. While writing clearly runs in my blood, my choice of topic is generally not model trucks, it is still a strong connection between the two of us.