SOUTHGATE SNIPPETS - Good Ol' Magicians of Text

Somer describes the magical writing abilities here at Southgate Coins, and some of the processes that take place.

Good Ol' Magicians of Text

By Somer Athari

The sound of keyboard keys clacking harmoniously with James Taylor singing in the background is something heard often here at Southgate Coins. Recently, an excessive amount of just such keyboard melodies has been echoing in the office, which hasn't happened to this extent since the writing of Rusty's first book, The Mint on Carson Street. In addition to my weekly word processing of Web site articles, Rusty has been lined up with articles, letters to beloved customers, lecture notes, and now the newest accumulation of notes for the new book Rusty's working on about the life of James Crawford.

Being that I am an English Major at UNR (University of Nevada, Reno), I can't imagine a better position to be in during these quixotic college years. What a great experience, but there is a whole lot that goes into writing for the public, whether it be thank you letters or something gigantic like a book (which was just a dream, before I realized the processes of book writing). I have just completed word processing the lecture notes for Rusty's upcoming public talk at the Nevada State Museum. Here at Southgate Coins, we are "magicians" at the detailed processes that go into all such writing agendas.

The very first thing is, what to write about. When it comes to the Snippets, a mysterious idea of what to write about will magically appear in my Snippets folder, and they are always in Rusty's handwriting (spooky, I know). From there, my artistic wings spread and... A-La-Kazzam, a fantastic article appears on the Web site before your very eyes. Quite a trick, huh. Okay, it's not that simple. Let me reveal all the secrets just like those magicians often do on one hour HBO specials.

Composing a paper/book/letter is all done differently depending on who the author may be, but with Rusty, all his thoughts start on the classical yellow lined paper. Research is a big part of this of course, but Rusty is somewhat like an encyclopedia when it comes to coins, so this step can almost be set aside for this accredited author.

Now it's us girl's turn, with our lightning fast fingers, we let our ten appendages do all the work. With this comes a big task, accuracy. Accuracy is what we take so seriously here. Rusty always has us "strive for perfection" in everything we do, especially with typing; so that's why we always need to stay focused on what we're doing. Skipping a line or sentence here and there can mean a serious lack of meaning in any paper written in long hand, which gets converted to type. Luckily for us, deleting on computers isn't such a difficult task as it used to be on typewriters (with the white out and retypes). Technology can be your friend! Interruptions occur often, so learning to "put a bookmark" in what we're doing is a must. In order to help do this, one method I practice for better accuracy is marking off each page completed with a beautiful diagonal pink line.

In addition to accuracy comes the need for consistency. Whether it is letters, articles, or books, formatting becomes dependent on what type of word processing is being done. A few things are standards like 1.5 spaced sentences, indentations, italics for book titles, and special adjectives for coins like Unique, and of course address blocks with a date at the upper left corner of letters. These are steps that need to take place in order for a company to maintain conformity in all written aspects.

Finally comes editing. What happens when spell-check just isn't enough, which is often the case? You take it to the master, Rusty! Rusty is a master in the arts of editing. We review our work and then send it into "the office" (a.k.a Rusty's office). This is where the real magic takes place. Final editing will be completed and then Rusty will place the glorious, gratifying, blue-colored, "OK." You know you have done a great job when you receive an "OK" on a first draft, but all good writers are never satisfied with a rough draft, even if it is the 3rd or 4th rough draft.

After all of this is completed, the articles are submitted, the letters are sent out, the Web site items are posted, the ads are published, and the book drafts are sent to the printers. Then the newsies on the streets will have you "read all about it." Just kidding, I know that newsies are long gone, but I guess you could consider me one just the same. Until next week, this is Somer "newsie" (wink-wink), your correspondent, signing off.

Your "just the facts, ma'am,"


PS: Thanks to one of our faithful friends who sent us a copy of the newsletter he writes for his company. We love exchanging ideas with fellow writers.