PATRICK STEPHENSON

Earthbound concerns of an ascendant adult

I Am Meticulous

with one comment

I found this buried (metaphorically) in my computer’s ‘Lockbox’ dir. It’s the cover letter I enclosed with my application to University of Minnesota Press, written during my more naive/innocent days. I wrote it on December 13, 2006. I’d been hit by a van two days earlier and had taken off from work to recover. I applied while recovering, apparently.

I am applying for the Production Assistant position at the Minnesota Press. Working in the publication business has always appealed to me. This became apparent recently when, as a security guard at Coffman Union’s bookstore, I attended a reading by David Treuer. Representatives from Treuer’s publisher were also present, in order to publicize the book and hand out snacks. After the reading, I spoke with Mary Matze, from Grey Wolf [sic] Press, about her experiences working for the Press and about how she’d been employed. The moment was epiphanic.

I’ve read voraciously my whole life, or at least since grade school, and I’ve written for various publications, including the Rochester Post-Bulletin and several Metropolitan Media Group magazines in the Cities, since 2002. I hadn’t, however, realized that—all along—I was also interested in the behind-the-scenes aspect of writing and book creation. I love, for instance, studying how sentences and paragraphs and novels themselves are structured. I love reading about famous editors, and book jacket designers, and even philosophies for text layout.

Which is to say, I’m interested not only in the final products that books are, but in the guts behind them. I always tell friends, “If you have a paper you need edited, send it to me.” This always surprises them, that it’s a joy for me to print out someone’s paper and mark it up, rearranging sentences and correcting grammatical and syntactical errors. It’s true, though. That’s joyous for me. The way some people see crosswords and Sudoku, I see writing. It’s all, I suppose, about ensuring one sentence connects to the one before and after it, with grace.

For those reasons, I feel the Production Assistant position at the Minnesota Press is perfect for me. As an experienced writer, I’m intimate with English. In addition, I have experience as an editor. I worked, at one time, as the Features Editor and Design Editor for a school paper in Rochester, MN. I would stay till 4am some nights ensuring that sentences and pages in the new issue were to my liking. You’ll notice, as you finish this letter, that its paragraphs are nearly equal in length, that there are four of them, and that each paragraph’s last line ends in nearly the same place. This was intentional. I am meticulous.

I was “earnest,” says Maddie. “That’s a nice way of putting it,” say I.

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Written by patiomensch

October 10, 2007 at 5:27 pm

Posted in Books

One Response

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  1. “You’ll notice, as you finish this letter, that its paragraphs are nearly equal in length, that there are four of them, and that each paragraph’s last line ends in nearly the same place. This was intentional. I am meticulous.”

    I like this part the best.

    I was going to ask you why I couldn’t find a way to subscribe to your site. Then, I realized that this is no longer Xanga.
    Oh well, toodles. ^_~*

    sumi_iwaya

    November 15, 2007 at 3:28 pm


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