A Brief Word

| August/September 1992

This was the first year that ye olde Reflector took the GEM banner to the Waukee (Iowa) Swap Meet. The results were very gratifying. All of us here extend a genuine note of thanks to the literally thousands of people who stopped by our display. Your support is very much appreciated. Believe it or not, there are tedious days for writers too. At those times, we gain new impetus by simply recalling your support and encouragement. One person in particular offered ye olde Reflector some tremendous help and encouragement on a current project. This person would never expect a public token of gratitude, so we'll leave off the name and we'll still be able to convey the message. Thanks for being so interested!

At present ye olde Reflector is working on an in-depth study of Oliver, Hart-Parr, and related companies. In fact, this work has been going on for well over a year. Many of you have asked us when it will be done. We'll give you the same answer we gave the publisher: we don't know exactly. Publishers always seem to have professional schedulers who probably have nothing else to do. We can understand their desire to write everything into neat little boxes, with one section being completed a certain date, another section sixteen days later, and so on.

The problem with historical research is that accurate scheduling is well-nigh impossible. First of all, there is the information gathering process. This sometimes takes a year or more. This process includes photographs, production data, and whatever else can be located. If there are several different companies or corporate entities involved, this adds considerably to the research load.

Once the bulk of the material is located, it is possible to assemble an outline of the book. Even this phase has its pitfalls. The worst one is finding some new material after the outline is completed, and then trying to put it in place without having to rework the outline. In fact, this is one of the reasons ye Olde Reflector takes so much time in the research phase. We attempt to find everything possible on a given company before ever starting the outline. Ultimately this provides a better book, although the process takes more time.

After the book outline is completed, comes the actual writing. This phase is the most enjoyable, of course. In this phase, we usually have books, magazines, and literature strung all over the office, and usually it is laid out a certain way for a certain purpose.

Well, a project nears completion, and then comes those dreaded packages from the publisher. Proofreading to do. Ugh! We can unequivocally tell you that there can be no more boring job in this world than proofreading. It requires to read every single word, comma and period in the book. For someone who reads very quickly, and in fact uses scanning much of the time, this is a tremendously difficult job. We usually work at it for an hour or so, and then do something else for awhile. We truly believe that if we were forced to proofread eight hours a day, it would guarantee that we would soon be fitted for our own personalized rubber room.