I’m very proud to show off the new logo for my editing business. Based on a photograph I took a few years ago, this logo was designed by my daughter, Colleen, an artist and photographer (see more of her work on her website, solas-photo.com). “Make me a logo, please,” I asked her. “Base it on this picture, maybe work in a Celtic theme, but do whatever you think best—you know what I like.” The choice of image seemed instinctual on my part, whereas her work shows considerable thought, deliberation and talent. Seeing the time and effort that she put into this image has prompted me to ponder my choice of the picture in the first place.
The photograph (seen here) was taken at Longwood Gardens in south-east Pennsylvania in July 2015. I was looking up through the iron-work roof of a gazebo at the towering trees and blue sky above. It’s a familiar perspective for me; I have many memories of looking up at the sky, whether it was the starlit black over a campground, the brilliant and breezy blue of the first warm day of spring, or the heavy lavender-grey from which fell the first snow of the season. Looking up, often from a comfortable spot on the ground, I would let my imagination wander and lead me through scenarios and possibilities. That sense of breaking free is something I still feel whenever I can find a few moments to look up.
I took this picture just days before I turned 50, normally an introspective milestone and I was in the middle of a particularly difficult time of personal loss. The trip south was meant to be a short respite from what was waiting for me at home. I had long wanted to visit Longwood Gardens, mostly for the giant lily pads I had seen on the PBS show, The Victory Garden. They were worth the visit, but the rest of the gardens, the grand scope of the place, and the trees and big skies, gave me moments of freedom from my cares. Looking up through that gazebo roof, way up at the blue beyond, I was able to imagine a way through the mire of my current life. I was able to see, and feel, a moment of clarity.
When I started my editing business, I chose this picture for my website. It was an instinctive choice, and now that I think about it, I realize that this image of looking up to see the light shining through, strong and clear, represents where I want my life—my work, my relationships, my future—to go. I don’t want to get lost in the clutter on the ground; I want to look up and see clearly, imagine the possibilities even if I can’t quite reach them, yet.
Colleen took this photograph, and all of its meaning, and turned it into this beautiful illustration of what has guided me since I was a child. The centre circle is both an opening to new possibilities and a representation of the light that draws us out. The lines emanating from the circle are like the rays of the sun, giving clarity to our lives. The blue symbolizes the sky and the water, which inspire us to explore and imagine. And the Celtic circles point to my personal heritage, but also represent the many fascinations of life that swirl around us.
A less whimsical interpretation is that this image embodies the main principle that guides me as an editor: to help authors bring clarity to their writing so as to best convey their unique ideas. I’m always impressed by the knowledge and insights of the scholars with whom I work. They study incredibly interesting subjects, and find nuances and innovative interpretations that few of us could ever see on our own. I learn much from each piece I edit. My job is to help my clients use language to its full potential so that those ideas are expressed with as much distinction and vision as they deserve. I’m not so narcissistic as to think I’m the sun shining down on their work. Rather I hope my work helps to guide their readers to the sky beyond the trees, to the hole in the gazebo through which imaginations can wander.