From the Editor's Bag: Leftovers

From the Editor's Bag: Leftovers

Susan Miller:

It is the last issue of 2009, and what a year it has been.  Pick any adjective you like; there was something to apply it to.  Every year Northwest Dentistry wraps up a volume with a variety of items gathered along the way that just didn't fit, and didn't get in, leaving the editors thankful for the gifts of the year, but with that little itch of the imperfect that tests our mission and makes us fidget in our niche.  What to do...In the spirit of the season, we decided to follow the feast with our own version of leftovers, items with nothing more in common that that they were too good to leave behind. Tim to count your blessings, and pass the gravy. 

The Editors

Roses in December

While researching images for Dr. John Lueth's lovely March-April cover feature "Little Roses of Sarajevo", we discovered the "other" roses of Sarajevo. During the war in Bosnia, the city came under siege, and was showered by artillery to prevent troops from deploying. The streets are pitted with mortar shell explosion sites. These craters, especially those which resulted in one or more deaths, were filled with a red resin, and they became the Roses of Sarajevo.

Forward Thinking With Back Stories

It's personal, writing, and editing is, often, not. We regret the deletions of verbal hugs and kisses to family, friends, and colleagues, as well as home towns, national pride, alma maters, you name it. They are, after all, what we do this for. To all of them, we invite you to take a run down Recent-Memory Lane with NWD Advertising Manager Patty Lien's grandson Evan, on his first-ever flag-carrying Fourth of July. Great picture, great kid, and a great lot of subtext into the bargain. An Editor's dream.


Photo courtesy of Matt Haupert

Scout and Sapphire, guardians of the Island. Photo courtesy of Dr. Marsh Muirhead, Bemidji, Minnesota. For no reason other than the beauty of it.

Page Finishers and Conversation Stoppers

Editors love to find "just the right quote" to finish a page, but every so often there's a startle inthe search, one that makes us go, "Who said that?" Try these on for size...*

1. "We stand for the maintenance of private property ... We shall protect free enterprise as the most expedient, or rather the sole possible economic order."

2. "Don't get the idea that I'm one of them *** radicals. Don't get the idea that I'm knocking the American System."

3. "I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have."


Leaping Off the Page

This year proved once and for all that the feedback loop for an appearance in Northwest Dentistry falls into the "messy but good" definition of life and spaghetti. Old friends call, ideas ignite, acquaintance via print turns into contact via cyberspace. It's good to be seen. A defined story, you discover, cannot be contained; small circles widen. Our favorite sentence starts, "I loved..." Whether it's the Busiest Person in the World getting up from that desk to walk next door to talk to a colleague, or just taking a moment to "really look" at someone else's photographic vision, it's contact. Something has moved you. And it started here.

Titles We didn't Use

Some days your head just rattles with ideas for titles. Like the buzzing of flies, they are...When you hear yourself talking like Yoda, you know you are in editorial overdrive. Here are a few we had left over. Make up your own stories.

♦ Shrink Wrap for the Dental Soul

♦ You're Not Supposed to Do It That Way, And It's Not Supposed to Work

♦ Pearls and Pitbulls

Did We Mention

There were vey cool things that happened that didn't find a spot.

A number of area dentists contributed everything from offices and labs to period equipment, (Even "auditioning" a vintage care), as well as their presence as extras, in the Coen Brothers' movie "A Serious Man". (In current release - check it out.)

An outstate dental office celebrated the 30-year partship of its dentist/dental assistant team, and even in informal discussion, we came up with so many similar stories we couldn't run with them all. How good is that?

Thought Better of It

What else didn't make it into print? The tired/goofy/emotional stuff, the rants, the expletives that had to be deleted, but first had to be spent. The "Here's how my day's going" cover letters to the "Here's how my life's going" contacts. The plans that went down the drain; the focus that went out the window. The quest for appropriateness while the people in the next conference room are trying to figure out the two-bathtub scenario in the Cialis commercial. (Really happened. Just reporting...) And the Associate Editor who summed it all up by writing that "This year my Halloween costume will be the scariest thing I know - a deadline."

And One Thousand-Year-Old Egg ...

Okay, this one isn't from Northwest Dentistry. It has been sitting in Managing Editor Sue Miller's "Why You Need an Editor" file for 15 years, and its time has come. Spellcheck didn't bat an eye when a local newspaper ran this interesting report:

"In one case, a Chinese family's house was burglarized while they were at home. Although family members were tortured with hot irons, they were reluctant to give information to the police."

The Big End of the Wishbone

To all our contributors to Volume 88 of the journal of the Minnesota Dental Association, the editors and staff of Northwest Dentistry express not only their sincere appreciation, but their very real understanding of what it takes to put words on a page, send them out into the world, and wonder "if anyone's out there". To each of you who sent us ideas, stories, photos, philosophies, kudos, and surprises, we dedicate the immortal Gene Fowler quoteL

"Writing is easy; all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead."

We can't wait to see what's next.

*Quote # 1 Adolf Hitler,  # 2 Al Capone,  #3 Leonardo da Vinci


"The world is full of magical things waiting for our wits to grow sharper."

                                                                             - Eden Phillpots