Posted by: Bruce Black | August 1, 2016

A Love of Yoga and Words

 

What I remember from the years that I worked with my Rodmell Press editor, Linda Cogozzo, who retired a month ago, is her deep and abiding love of books, her gratitude for the miracle of each book and for the miracle of words that found their way to each page.

Her gratitude for the miracle of the text, for the miracle of letters appearing on a page, was almost palpable. Before I ever knew I’d work with her, I’d bought or received copies of some of Rodmell’s titles—Charlotte Bell’s Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life, for instance, or Judith Lasater’s Living Your Yoga—and I remember how opening these books felt as if I were opening works of art.

Her basic publishing philosophy, if I might take the liberty of describing it here, was a reflection of her yoga practice. “It takes as long it takes,” she often said, quoting another remarkable editor, William Shawn, who performed his magic at The New Yorker.

Throughout the book-making process, Linda’s close attention to the smallest details reminded me of the way a master yogi refines a pose. She had an unending desire to get it right, no matter the effort required. The weight and heft of the paper, the texture of the cover stock, the tasteful design, the way the words were set on the page, each letter, it seemed, caressed by Linda’s loving pen.

From the start of our author-editor relationship, she made clear to me that it was my book. But no matter how often she told me this—and as much as I was grateful to her for the respect that she gave me during the editorial process—I always felt the book was ours, hers and mine, throughout the book-making process as well as afterward.

It was a shared experience, much the same way a yoga class is shared by teacher and student. Linda was my teacher, my guide, and she helped me explore the pose of writing, offering encouragement to gain greater clarity, giving suggestions for alternate approaches into the work, helping shape the manuscript in the same way a sensitive yoga teacher might help shape an awkward student’s pose.

Always, she tried to create a book that readers might love as much as she loved the manuscript. I felt it was a gift to watch her work, to see a book begin to take shape in her mind and then come into being in the sets of galleys that we passed back and forth over the months it took to create the book.

She had the gift of being able to envision an entire book from concept to publication and beyond, and she worked with the precision and love of beauty that you’d expect to find in the work of a great artist. Indeed, that’s what made her so special as an editor. She was a remarkable artist, and her creations were the books that she brought into the world each spring and fall.

She was a remarkable yogi, too, who found the balance between letting each book go into the world each season, yet remaining connected to its author (and the book itself) for years after the book’s launch. She wanted to keep the book afloat, alive, and I can’t thank her enough for nurturing my book with that kind of support, and for so long, with the kind of fierce love that only a dedicated editor like Linda knows how to offer.

I wish her well in the days ahead, and I’m sure, when I find myself struggling with a yoga pose on my mat or a particularly gnarly sentence, I’ll remember her voice offering encouragement: It takes as long as it takes.

And I know her words will inspire the same sense of gratitude and love for the miracle of yoga and words that she shared with me from the beginning.

Note: I’m pleased to say, thanks to Linda’s efforts, you can now find my book (Writing Yoga) and other Rodmell titles on Shambala’s list. It’s an honor to be included among Shambala’s many fine works. Here’s a link, if you’d like to check out their offerings: http://www.shambhala.com/books.html?p=2&sham_topic=82

 

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Responses

  1. It takes as long as it takes… What a beautiful principle to live our lives. Eternity in a moment.. Thank you

  2. Bruce: I don’t have words to acknowledge your generosity and lovingkindness, so I’ll keep it simple: thank you, thank you (because some things are worth saying more than once). It was a privilege to work with you. I can’t wait to read what you write next!


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