Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

Back through the pages

So I’m working on getting more of my work ready to put on the website (not today, though), and it makes for an interesting trip backwards: poems and short stories I submitted to a then-brand-new magazine – something called Lacunae – more than a dozen years ago; remembering the first piece of fiction I ever sold ("Heading Home," August 6, 1995 issue of Florida magazine).

Aside from the writing, I find myself thinking of the composing room at The Orlando Sentinel, where I finally got my foot in the newspaper door after putzing around central Florida for a year after college. My job was to cut and paste stories and pictures and ads onto broadsheets, which would then be photographed and turned into the plates for the printing press. We used razor blades and hot wax and rollers, and sent the proofs of the pages up to the Editorial department through honest-to-God pneumatic tubes from our low-ceilinged, fluorescent lit room in the bowels of the Sentinel. It wasn’t hard work, but it did take a certain skill set, and come deadline time, as in just about every facet of newspapering, the pressure was on. We worked 4 to midnight in composing, and I worked with a fantastically twisted and goofy bunch of people, (Halloween night, we’d answer the phone "Decomposing!") some of whom I’m still in touch with, even though the composing room is a long, long gone memory, since page layout’s all done in the computers now.

That makes us the last generation of compositors who physically pasted the pages together, and I get a strange kick out of that notion. 

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April 9, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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