Eight years ago, The Wise began its journey. After four issues, we parted ways with our first copy editor, Bea Vanni.
Following this, I began searching for a replacement editor. I tried so many names that I found on a website, but then I came across a web-based service called Quill Content. I mailed the proprietor, Jim Newall, about possibly editing for the The Wise. Jim has now been our copy editor for 46 issues, so for our 50th issue, I wanted to talk with him.
Jim, as our English copy editor, you read all the articles in The Wise. In fact, you are our biggest reader. But let me confess something: Although we’ve worked together for over seven years, I don’t know much about you personally. I think it’s time for us to get to know you a little better. Could you us about yourself?
Well, where should I start. First of all, I’m an Englishman who lives in the Netherlands with my partner and our two beautiful Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. What’s perhaps ironic, though, is that my background is in neither editing or spirituality—it’s just something that sort of “happened” for want of a better word.
If I can elaborate on this, I was originally involved in computer science and specifically algorithms. Having grown up in the 1980s, I was enamoured by the technical world and the promise it offered. Nowadays, I’m much more ambivalent about computer algorithms. While they can of course be developed with positive purposes, we also see them increasingly invading our lives. We have the big tech giants mining massive amounts of data on us. We’ve even seen social media being used to influence elections, such as through targeted promotions, fake news, and bots.
Basically, I’m happy to be my own boss, writing and editing publications like The Wise, among others.
Before you met The Wise, how much did you know about Turkish people and Anatolia, as well as spirituality?
I have to admit, I think Turkey is misrepresented in the west. Most reports tend to focus on negative aspects, such as the tension over Cyprus, the Kurdish issue, and the current political situation. While these are real issues of course, it overlooks the real people of Turkey and the rich history of Anatolia. Editing for The Wise has been an eye-opening experience for me in this regard.
On the other hand, I would say I’ve always been spiritually inclined. I’ve meditated since I was a teenager, and I’ve sought to look for the truth beyond the apparent, questioning rather than blindly accepting. In this sense, I feel I fit in well with The Wise, and I think I’ve expanded my spiritual knowledge and understanding greatly on this journey, not just with the magazine but also the books by you and your friends.
You’ve read and edited around 700 articles for The Wise. What do you think about them? After reading so many articles, have they had any effect on your life?
I think The Wise encompasses a remarkably diverse set of views. Over the years, I’ve read and edited articles on a huge range of topics, from exploring past lives to more practical articles like the one about Atatürk and the founding of modern Turkey. As we know, spirituality is a wide field, and there are numerous practices within it. Many people would argue that some of these practices are just fads to make money, but I think everything deserves to be discussed, so the readers can draw their own opinions, and The Wise does that.
Have these articles had an effect on me? Without a doubt. I would be hard pressed to give a concrete example, because it’s been a cumulative process, but I’ve certainly found new perspectives that jumped out at me, and I must have surely internalized them on some level.
I know about degree level. If he says an article is “good,” he means “very good”. I rarely got a “very good,” but this means “great.” Sometimes I got an “I feel this article isn’t right for this issue.” I am curious about this, though: Do you have any favourite authors in The Wise?
And if I say “great,” it means “outstanding”! The world is not homogenous of course, and everyone has their own views. I try to take a step back when trying to assess quality, because I don’t want my own views to taint my assessment and give a rave review because something matches my beliefs or dismiss something because it doesn’t. I do occasionally stick my head out and say if something just isn’t suitable, perhaps because the argument isn’t coherent or just doesn’t fit.
As for favourite authors, it’s ironic, but I often don’t know who’s authored many of the articles, so I read and edit them “blind.” I think I have two groups of favourites, favourites as a copy editor and favourites as a reader. As a copy editor, you need to respect the “voice” of the author when revising a text. I won’t name names, but sometimes this goes really well, because although the article was originally written in Turkish, the author’s intentions clearly shine through and it’s a pleasure to edit it. Other times, a more deliberate effort may be required to see where the author is coming from. From a reader’s point of view, you have many great authors, so I don’t want this to be taken as denigrating anyone, but a couple that come to mind are Cem Şen and Celina Stamboli Rodriguez for her practical health advice
Thank you for all your efforts for The Wise. I hope we will continue our work for many issues.
Thank you, Hasan. I’m sure we will.
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