A New Year’s Revelation

By Jim McCloskey

For me, 2013 ended with a personal revelation.

I was sitting at my computer late in the afternoon on December 19, getting ready to wrap up business for the year, close my office door and focus on spending quality time with friends and family through the dozen days leading up to New Year’s Eve.

As is my habit at the end of a typical workweek, I jumped around the WaterShapes.com web site, making certain everything was working smoothly and confirming that the three dozen articles I’d uploaded in the past week were all looking great and performing as expected.

By happenstance, it had been a couple great days for content, with feature articles by watershapers including Joan Roca, Stephanie Rose, Ron and Suzanne Dirsmith, George Forni, Anthony Archer Wills, the SWON Design team and more. It was particularly pleasing to work again with the article by Larry O’Hearn of Crystal Fountains – the one about the Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Centennial Park, which I consider to be a splendid, unadulterated masterpiece.

What I realized as I darted from place to place making certain that all of the links were working was that I was enjoying what I was doing in ways I haven’t consciously done in a long time.

I have to say that the process of taking articles from their original .pdf formats and converting them to .html files for the web is repetitive. I now know more about computer code and the way things work in the digital realm that I care to think after having converted and uploaded a couple thousand articles to our web site from the magazine and the WaterShapes EXTRA newsletter.

But the thing I realized the other day – my revelation – is that the exercise has actually become fun: It had probably been this way for a while, maybe ever since I became fully aware of what needed to be done and how. But it suddenly occurred to me that I really do enjoy reading the columns and articles again to prepare them for our system, and I’m delighted when things lay out cleanly and the digital versions in some way stand up well alongside the printed originals.

All sorts of odd thoughts run through my mind as I work, and most of them are positive and constructive. I know, for example, that lots of columns we ran through the years had no photographic accompaniment – just the opening illustrations by our art director Rick Leddy. So now I’m determined to double back on all of those columns to add pullquotes and spot art and other forms of graphic relief that will break up the big blocks of text and make the exercise of reading a bit easier on the eye.

I also know that lots of our columns and articles make reference to other columns and articles that appeared in the magazine. For now, those references generally stand as dates and pages, leaving you to do a bit of legwork in the archives to follow along. At some point, however, I’ll double back with all of these citations and include direct links to the mentioned texts. That’ll be another labor of love: I can already see how interconnected some of the things we’ve done truly are – and I like the fact that this sense will only grow stronger.

As I see it, 2014 will be a breakout year for WaterShapes.com. I invite you all to jump on for what promises to be a wonderful ride.

Happy New Year!

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