“Work hard and be kind:” Chatting with Dragonfly’s Anna Bentley

Anna BentleyAnna Bentley isn’t your run-of-the-mill editor. She loves tamales, pugs, and space. And, of course, editing.

She currently lives in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. They’re considering a move, though, to “somewhere that doesn’t feel like living inside a radiator in the summer.”

From journalism major to major editor

English was always Anna’s strongest subject in school, so it probably wasn’t too much of a surprise when editing became her occupation. “My favorite part of writing has always been the editing process—finding ways to tighten a sentence or better communicate an idea. It’s genuinely fun for me. It feels like a puzzle…it’s somewhat intuitive, really.”

Anna was a journalism major in college and interned with a few local magazines following graduation. She worked for a home improvement/DIY magazine that went out of business the month after her internship ended and then an affluent, Atlanta-based lifestyle magazine after that. A few months later, she started her first full-time job as an editor at an engineering firm, and the rest is history.

Anna works from home, though her workspace is ever-shifting. “Sometimes it’s the office, and sometimes it’s the couch with a baseball game in the background,” she said. She roots for the home team, the Atlanta Braves because, as she put it “you can’t grow up in Atlanta in the ‘90s and not love the Braves.”

A few of her favorite things

Anna’s office is decorated with a menagerie of artifacts and inspiration: Setlists from concerts, a wooden cutout of a Conan O’Brien quote that reads “work hard and be kind,” among others. Her favorite part of the office, though is a bookcase with a 1998 Hanson concert poster (her first concert) in place of a backing. “It’s ridiculous and I love it!” she exclaimed.

She also loves all things space-related. “I would have loved to be alive when we first walked on the moon…I imagine it must have felt like an entirely new world of possibilities had just opened,” she said.

In fact, a few years ago, Anna and her husband traveled to Orlando to visit both the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, as well as the Kennedy Space Center which, in her words, “was way cooler than Harry Potter.” And that’s saying a lot because JK Rowling is her favorite author these days. When she was younger, Faulkner held that coveted spot and, as she put it, “it feels like it should be the other way around, but there it is.”

Anna’s favorite sound is a blast from the past, quite literally. “I don’t know the technical term for it, but it’s this specific synthesizer sound from the ‘80s. You can hear it a lot in Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody,’” she added.

If she could spend the next year on only one project, Anna would follow the inspiration of a lawyer about whom she’s currently writing an article. “He revamped an old Airstream camper into a mobile law office. He drives up and down the California coast in this super swanky Airstream, providing legal services to people along the way.” No, she’s not talking about heading off to law school but she would love to restore a camper and “extensively test it throughout the Pacific Northwest.”

And should you pass Anna on the road, tooling around in her Airstream, you’ll know it’s her. You’ll most likely catch a note or two of one her three most-played songs at the moment: Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend,” Baltimora’s “Tarzan Boy,’ or Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69.”

This post was written by Becky Harris Sullivan, a writer at Dragonfly Editorial.

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