Daily Archives: July 26, 2004

Advanced Witchcraft, Devolving Production Values

After a coven discussion yesterday afternoon on the power of words and how form affects the content, I came across this spelling/editing error in Advanced Witchcraft: Go Deeper, Reach Further, Fly Higher, a book that I’m reading for review:

“He sites the example of […].”

(This, coveners, is what made me throw the book across the room yesterday evening and sit down to write that lengthy e-mail about form and content. Blame the author, Edain McCoy (who ought to have caught these in revision), and her editor, Rebecca Zins, for my mood.)

Siting an example would be surveying the surrounding land and establishing a latitude and longitude for it. If you quote something, you cite it. It’s not the same thing.

Gods! Errors such as these in published material are unforgivable! Gritting my teeth, I moved beyond it. I bristled, but I knew what the author meant. (Just to add fuel to the flame, she was referring to Jean Markale. My indignance on his behalf knows no bounds.)

Apart from this textual slip, the labels on the chart of elemental symbols were scrambled, so that the symbol for Air is identified as Water, the symbol for Fire is identified as Air, the symbol for Earth is identified as Fire, and the symbol for Water is identified as Earth. Errors like this make me mistrust a text identified as “Advanced Witchcraft.” I know they’re layout problems, but still; a production team can make or break a book, and the production team allowing spelling errors and chart errors is doing nothing to support the content of the text. My ultimate review will reflect this.

Apart from this, the book’s not bad. It’s about walking the walk, and talking the talk. It admits that what we did in our first two or three years is nothing like what we do now; in fact, lots of the info we wrote down back then no longer is part of our practice. It compares making magic with spirituality, the way of life that magic becomes as you progress in practice and study. Lots of philosophical musing; not many exercises, which of course is one of the things advanced practitioners are looking for. I’m only halfway through. I’ve yet to find new information that I don’t already know, or have come up with on my own. (That’s one of my standard measures: Does this book tell me something new? Or does it re-state something I already know in a better fashion?)

Today I get to go into the bookstore for a meeting. The newly-arrived four-volume set of Grimm’s Teutonic Mythology, unavailable for years, a price of over $200, and a must for anyone who studies a Nordic path, is there, and I don’t know if I possess the self-control to ignore it until my next cheque comes in. Perhaps I’ll distract myself with the 8×10 colour posters that my publishing company sent out to promote the new series I’m editing. They have a picture of me and the first two books being released this fall on them. I’m glad I was warned, otherwise when I stopped in on Friday night for a workshop I might have seen them, panicked, then turned and run away. Mentioning this to the editor of the local Pagan journal, she kindly told me that the same info was in the books & publishing section of the issue that had just hit the newsstands. I have good friends. They know that I love what I do, but they also know that the whole using me to promote the series thing is still freaky to me.

I think I’ll go downtown early and poke about the dressmaker’s supply shop.