From the Editor February 2012
|Sally wears a skirt and top by Caroline Sills; Photographed by Jane Ussher; hair by Michael Kent; make-up by Kaitlin Chapman
As I write this letter, it seems highly unlikely you will ever read it. The February issue has to go to the printer in just six working days. The page layouts are half done; photography for our lead story is stalled by foul weather. Outside my office the nikau palms thrash in the wind and rain; inside, the team are quiet and focused, office banter pruned back to work-only exchanges.
I should be worried. I am a bit. But, underneath it all, I know that the magazine will come out, because we have a deadline to meet.
Like many people, I have a love/hate affair with deadlines: they make me feel ill and snappy; get me out of bed at 3am to send myself emails. But I also love them because – more than anything else I’ve discovered in the world – deadlines Make Things Happen.
My first experience of the huge motivational power of deadlines came well before I got into magazines, when I announced to my parents that Nick and I were going to get married and we’d like to have the wedding reception at home in three months’ time, please.
A frenzy of painting and gardening ensued and by wedding day the house was perfect.
There’s a similar tale of deadline-induced transformation behind the gleaming white Parnell apartment belonging to Jo Eddington, which is on page 58 of this issue and also in our Auckland house tour on March 9. The house was charming when I visited several weeks ago, but Jo was already planning to paint and reclad the deck. “I knew that if I committed to the tour deadline it would get done,” she says. “But it was mad…”
Of course, to harness the power of deadlines, you have to commit to them. When you work in magazines, there’s no choice. But Jo and the 45 or so other tour homeowners who are opening their homes for charity have volunteered for deadline agony and, from where I sit right now, that is an awesome act of generosity.
(It should be noted that none of the tour homes actually need polishing up. They are beautiful already. But I’ve been in this job long enough to know that there’s a streak of perfectionism among many NZ House & Garden homeowners that makes a certain amount of pre-tour panic highly likely.)
Meanwhile, the only tour deadline the rest of us have is to get our friends organised to buy tickets for Auckland, Canterbury, Kapiti or Queenstown. (See here for tour details) and page 117 of the February issue to enter our competition to win a luxury all-expenses-paid tour package to Queenstown.) I’ll be at all of the tours and look forward to meeting you there. Assuming, of course, I ever make it through this deadline.