OHJ February 2019

Old House Journal February 2019

Editor's Letter: Gleaming exuberance!

As we readied these pages to go to the printer, our art director noted that a piece entitled New Life for an Old Door was followed on the very next spread with New Life for an Old Dresser. Two different writers had the same idea, and the redundancy wasn’t noted during initial editing. Well, that’s often what we’re about, right? New life for old things. I’d already caught other repetitive language. It seems writers and editors can get stuck on a word; I remember realizing that I’d used “twilight” and “twilight blue” half a dozen times in one issue, years ago, right after I’d painted the recesses of a beamed ceiling the perfect blue-sky-at-dusk color. 

In this issue, our indefatigable contributor Brian Coleman had a minor affair with “gleaming.” Used effectively—but, in proofing, I noted that the copper was gleaming, the woodwork was gleaming, and the sunlight gleamed. (The copper still gleams, but the sunlight streams and the woodwork is now lustrous.) Soon after, I found the word “exuberant” in four different articles, penned by four different writers. Although it rang true in every case, I dusted off synonyms “lively,” “cheerful,” “vigorous,” and “abundant.” 

I thought, Is this a thing? And I went looking for words that seem to pop up with unusual regularity in OHJ. (I’m leaving aside the obvious ones: old, house, restore, repair, bungalow.) Some of those words are shown above. Their recurrence creates a linguistic ambiance inside the magazine and for anyone reading it. When I wrote down all the words, I was gratifed by their spirit and their poetry.

In this edition of OHJ, with its emphasis on exterior wood repairs and a feature about a derelict house full of rot, you’ll stumble repeatedly on the word “decay.” Dare I mention that we almost called the restore feature Foxy Epoxy? But no, we already have Sexy Soffits, and we don’t want to scandalize anyone.

~ Patricia Poore, Editorial Director of Old House Journal

Look below to see stories from this issue.

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