Being an editor.

Editing a magazine is quite hard work. I unexpectedly became an editor quite a while ago now. I started up a Pen Friend club back in the days of letter writing. This came about from when I’d read tarot cards for people who’d kept in touch, and liked to chat about all and everything. My plan being that everyone would write to each other instead of me… I even had high hopes of a kind of romantic dating agency bringing lonely people together.  How wrong could you get? Anyway, to go with the pen pal club – ‘Friends are Forever’ I launched  a magazine – Pen Friend News. Every member received a copy of this every three months. The content of the magazine was anything from poetry to articles, to jokes sent in by members.

It was surprising how many contributors there were, and new members joining up every week. The club reached over thirty members, each one having a magazine, printed out by me. Some members met up. Romances brewed up a bit, and fizzled a bit. Only thing was, everything that happened led to me getting another letter telling me all about it.

One lady was horrified when a man landed at her cottage for a weekend and promptly plugged his lap top in to her phone connection and spent all weekend on the internet. Another man turned up for a weekend with a lady to tell her he was looking for fun, but he was married. Oh my word…

I can say friendships were formed though, and that was the aim of it all. But back to the editing part. One or two people took offence if I altered anything. The good side was that I could put my poetry and articles in there. One or two people came to visit as well, and I made some good friends myself. All in all it was a good thing, but eventually it took up so much time, I had to close it down, much to the dismay of many. How things have changed in such a short time, or so it seems. Now with twitter and face book and blogging, all that has changed. I still love it if ever a letter arrives through the post though. Something nice about seeing a hand written letter, knowing the sender has sat and penned those words just for you. It was great recently when Mom gave me a folder with every single copy of the Pen Friend News in. I’d lost mine, and sent them all out. She’d kept her copies for over three years that the magazine ran. Now I’ve got them to laugh at if nothing else, and to remind me of when I was an editor for a while.

photo_9864_20091114[1]Don’t forget to plant some seeds this weekend. I’m planting sweet peas and cornflowers.


Author: susanjanejones

I write pocket novels for My Weekly and also enjoy writing short stories. Gardening and reading are my other pastimes.

14 thoughts on “Being an editor.”

  1. Hi Sally, lots of story ideas for sure. I always tell people the cards are simply a tool for the imagination and that they will make their own minds up on what to do with a problem situation. Always that’s why people come for a reading is because they have a problem. The lovely pictures on the cards, and the peacefulness of the time they have lets them go on a journey. I haven’t had anyone say things weren’t true. One lady who had a postal reading sent me a long horrible letter saying ‘none of that will ever happen’ but about six months later she sent an equally long one saying ‘sorry, it did.

  2. What a lovely post Susan. Gosh the days of ‘pen friends’ seems so long ago. As you mention now we fave FB and twitter and talk to anyone, anywhere in the world. But as Sally says above, sounds like you have a folder full of story material!

  3. I was a big penfriend letter-writer in my childhood. I had a French friend, Colette, who once wrote asking me to make sure I put enough bells on my letters. After much puzzling I decided that her F/E dictionary must have given bell as the first translation option for ‘timbre’, rather than stamp.

  4. Well Julia I’ve heard of here’s my news – with bells on- but that’s so funny. I also had a French pen friend. I used to go through my phrase book and write a letter full of things like. ‘How do you get to the airport in this town? And, ‘Do you have a post office.’ We drifted apart, she probably thought I was bonkers. Her English in contrast was perfect. Almost more perfect than mine I’m ashamed to say.

  5. A pen friend club – that takes me back! When I was a teenager I had several pen friends in other countries and loved finding out about their lives. I suppose today’s teens do the same through Facebook etc. but they don’t have to wait weeks for replies as we did. Well done you for setting up a club and producing a magazine. A lot of work, but I’m sure all that writing was good practice.

    1. Hi Linda, yes we all had pen pals didn’t we. Mine was a cross between pen pals and a dating agency. It ended up a bit like that carry on film with Hatty and Sid. Good fun though, and I enjoyed working with the seasons, of course it gave me chance to publish the poetry I liked as well.

  6. You remind me of when I was a student and my best friend and I joined a penfriend club. I was writing to people in France, Italy and Kenya as well as a couple in UK.
    Offering to organise anything usually means you end up doing it all yourself, doesn’t it. You must have needed to be very diplomatic to deal with all those contributors!

  7. Absolutely Gail. I made the mistake of visiting a lady in Nottingham, who promptly wrote to someone who lived the other side of the city and bragged. ‘Sue’s been to visit me’ It took me ages to console the other one, and it was only when I payed her a visit as well that she came round to being herself again. Talk about squabble and bicker. That’s the ladies, the men were worse…

  8. Real letters are quite rare now, aren’t they? Even when we get letters by post they seem to be those round robin things which are sent to lots of different people.

  9. Hi Patsy. I think they’re a bit daft and not worth doing really. I’ve got a couple of aunts who write to me, and I write back. It’s lovely to see the note card or paper they’ve used, and seeing their handwriting is a bit special too.

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