Like most things conceived after midnight in a mustard-coloured bedroom above the 7-Eleven at Bloor and Spadina, this whole thing is a mistake — “a smoked shit sandwich,” as one of our more annoying editors has been repeating in a voice that grows increasingly louder when unacknowledged. On many pages in this issue, within the stories and illustrations and design elements, you will find errors.
This is something we usually work tirelessly to avoid. After all the content has been chosen, our team generally takes two months to put together the final product that is each issue of The Feathertale Review. Our writers and editors polish the stories and poems until they shine. Then our copy monkey takes a toothbrush to each line of text until every improperly spaced ellipsis (.. .), italicized comma (,) and backwards apostrophe (‘) is excised.
Once that’s done, our designer meticulously lays the text onto the pages, killing widows, clearing margins, tinkering with the typesetting, and making all sorts of other visual decisions that are beyond the understanding of most humans. Then our art director brings the text to life by curating dozens of illustrations from our talented stable of artists.
The whole thing is an exercise in precision that culminates with one of our crew creating “press ready” files that are then uploaded to a fortysomething Springsteen fan living (and aging) in a suburban Winnipeg warehouse. That guy then gives the files to someone who burns them onto metallic sheets, which are fed into a machine that shoots laser-guided ink onto sheets of paper that are ultimately cut and folded and glued together into something that resembles what you’re holding.
When the final product finally reaches our hands, the first thing we usually do is flip it open and begin searching for screw-ups. Sometimes we find one or two, other times we don’t.
There’s no way for us to quantify how many individual mistakes are actually in this issue, because the truth is, we lost count. But what we can do is point readers toward the initial error from which all of this was born. See Andrew J. Simpson’s contribution, “Living with My Mistakes” (p. 93), in which his past mistakes don’t just haunt him, as the cliché goes, but literally move in with him — the most hellish roommates imaginable.
Buried within the rest of this issue are a whack of other mistakes. There’s the Whole Foods aficionado who makes the same blunder — in both love and the Toronto housing market — twice (“House Hunters: Love Edition,” p. 60); the husband who can never seem to get the equation tragedy + time = comedy quite right (“Dave, Who Is Valiant,” p. 73); and the marketer pointing out the Olympics’ missed branding opportunities (“Olympic Sports Renamed So That People Will Actually Watch the Olympics,” p. 69). Scott Colby’s conclusion to his Death in Etobicoke trilogy finds a home here as well (p. 44), the hapless protagonist being the embodiment of an inconsequential fool.
Amidst this mess, readers will also find an old favourite that’s been on hiatus for several issues: the Egregious Interview (p. 24). In this issue, Feathertale engages in conversation with Aurora Browne, one of the creators and stars of CBC’s Baroness von Sketch Show. Aurora talks about the Canadian comedy scene and Second City, muses on what makes a good joke, and in the spirit of the issue, shares one of her own professional regrets — and how she moved past it (spoiler: it involves a nuclear bomb).
This issue’s mistakes don’t stop with the text on the page. Several cardinal rules of design have been purposely ignored to create an issue that is as fudged-up in style as it is in substance. Good luck trying to find all the errors our design director has inserted throughout the book. If you tire of the challenge, grab a pencil and flip to p. 104 to play an illustrated game of “Spot the Difference.” Hint: we’re pretty sure there are 23 differences to find. Or maybe that’s a mistake too. We can’t really keep track anymore.
— The Editors
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