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Grapevine : September 2011
aagrapevine.org 31 and fairly ordinary pub- lishing experience as an editor, first with a book publisher and therea er with a not-for-profit orga- nization. e nominating committee had thought my background might be of value to the com- mittee in its work, as many of the committee members, while highly accomplished in their fields, had little or no knowledge of publishing. Although I was the sole member of the com- mittee who would not participate in the week- long Conference itself, any notion I might have begun to harbor that I had "stepchild status" was dispelled by my ser- vice mentor's emphatic assertion that I should regard myself as a full committee member. e function of the committee, and my role on it, came into sharper focus when work got un- derway on the Black/Afri- can American pamphlet. A number of stories had been received from the Fellowship and selected for inclusion in the pamphlet, but it seemed toanumberofuson the subcommittee that the stories had missing elements or inconsisten- cies and these problems needed addressing be- fore they would be suit- able for publication. To our disappointment, the copy we received back was virtually unchanged by the freelance copyedi- tor the Publications De- partment had assigned to the project. e same request was made by us again and yielded the same result. Distressed, I called someone with di- rect experience serving both the General Service Board and the General Service O ce. "You must understand," he responded. " e Gen- eral Service O ce is an institution. Stand your ground." Fortified by his impera- tive, our subcommittee did just that. e chang- es we had requested were ultimately incorpo- rated in the final version, resulting in a resource of which the Fellowship could be proud. My mentor's reference to GSO as an institu- tion was illuminating. He seemed to be saying that institutions could be flexible and creative, but they could also be bureaucratic and rigid. I had only to reflect on my experience as a sta member of a large national organization, where a top-to-bottom review of our way of work had been initiated to improve e ciency and stimulate growth. Why should I imagine that GSO, wonderful as the services it provides to the Fellowship truly are, should always function flawlessly? His response brought into sharper focus the custodial rela- tionship of the General Service Board to GSO and the inevitability of oc- casional conflict between the volunteers who serve on the board and the paid sta at the o ce. It also helped me to understand that while collegiality with the Publications Depart- ment was desirable, my role was to serve the TLC to the best of my ability by seeing to it that the resources requested by the Conference met