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"Cook, Lynette" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 21 May 1997 12:46:07 -0800
text/plain (58 lines)
          Dear Lynne,

          Oh my!  Does your inquiry bring back memories!  As some of
          you know, I was once GNSI's Corresponding Secretary and it
          was my job to answer the letters that came into the national
          office from anyone wanting to know about scientific
          illustration.  Most of the letters were from students.  The
          gist of the messages was, "Tell me everything you know about
          scientific illustration."

          Well, of course it's impossible to write everybody a
          completely personal and original letter spelling out the
          same information over and over again.  So, yes, there were
          form letters which were sent out with GNSI info and
          publications such as the Careers booklet.  This served the
          purpose for most inquiries, as most questions were general
          and were asked repeatedly.  For more specific questions not
          covered in these materials, I did write an additional letter
          directly addressing these issues.  Of course, as
          Corresponding Secretary, it was my job to do this.  You are
          not an officer volunteering to do so - nor a paid staff
          person whose job description requires it.  If and when I get
          my own web page, should I have the same experience, I will
          not be able to spend hours replying either.

          Here are my suggestions:  1) Write a form letter to cover
          the basics and send it out when you get inquiries.  Start
          with something like, "I have received your message and
          appreciate your interest in my art work and the field of
          scientific illustration.  Due to the large volume of similar
          questions from other people, I apologize that I am unable to
          answer your inquiries individually.  The information in this
          letter will answer many of your questions and will offer
          suggestions for finding out more."  2) Give them GNSI's
          national address and tell them to write there for more info.
          (Sorry, officers, if you don't want more work, but that's
          what GNSI is there for.)  3)  If you have a staff job
          somewhere (do you?) and you and your employer are agreeable
          to this, give them your phone number and tell them to call
          you there on their dime if they need more specific
          information.  My chairman at the Morrison Planetarium agreed
          to this when I was Corresponding Secretary and guess what?
          Very few people called.  Sometimes people still call me here
          for info and I'm not always sure how they get my name and
          number.  But I agree I couldn't do this if I were
          freelancing full-time.  I already spend enough time on
          business, phoning, recordkeeping, etc., rather than doing
          actual income-producing work and can't spent lots more time
          just being helpful about educating someone.  The willingness
          is there, but I can't take my helpfulness to the bank or pay
          the rent with it.

          Good luck!

          Lynette Cook
          Morrison Planetarium
          [log in to unmask]