“Okay, so if you move this paragraph up here, and take this one out altogether, and tighten it up a little here, I think you’ve got a great piece here. You’re getting there, Frank. Every week I see improvement in what you’re submitting. I think you’ll be ready to do this on your own in no time.”
Ah, yes, I remember those days. It started off with just editing critiques, and then it became comments about how I was writing and my style, or lack of it. Mr. Wright rode me till I thought I was going to explode, or give up. I didn’t see how I would ever be able to call myself a writer if I couldn’t get the simplest things right.
I have to admit, though, without his constant pushing I might not be where I am now.
Frank opened the Dictionapolis Daily and grinned. The paper was open to section C, showing his two columns wide by six inch long article.
I have really made it. My pieces are sometimes the first thing people turn to when they get their newspaper. We have a daily circulation of over a million people and they read me because I tell them exactly what they need to know.
The rapid-fire clicks were only just audible over his humming as he keyed in tomorrow’s article. He didn’t need to refer to notes; he had the facts down pat, using his infallible memory when it came to what he needed to write. Rewrites were something that he never felt he had any need to do.
The phone rang; as he listened he made a wry face. Wonder what bee the old man has up his bonnet today. Humph! Another cliché, Wright hated them, was always riding me every time I used one. Said it reflected my lack of originality. Well, my readers expect them. If I was original, they wouldn’t be able to understand me. Old Dimmesdale is always reminding us our average readers are on a ninth grade level. So much for all my creative writing classes.
He swaggered through the room, filling the space with his larger than life ego, and sauntering past Rebecca, the new file clerk, smirking as he looked her over.
Behind him there were whispers and giggles, further proof of his virility and perfection.
The door to Dimmsdale’s office was open, and the old coot was sitting behind his desk, which was piled high with files and newspapers. Dimmsdale waved him into the chair, while he continued talking on the phone. “Mayor, I’m sure we can work something out. We can get him to come back in time to do the wedding. Yes, of course I understand…..Yes sir; I’m sure….Yes, of course. Thank you, sir.”
Dimmsdale turned back towards Frank as he hung up the phone.
“Well, Frank, you’ve done it again, lambasted another chef. Or should I say basted another chef. This is good stuff; it gets the readers fired up and creates controversy. But we have one small problem.”
Dimmsdale sat back and glared at Frank before continuing.
“The restaurant you bashed last night is the one the mayor’s daughter has selected for her wedding dinner. He’s not very happy with you right now; in fact, he’s calling for your head on a platter. It seems the chef has quit and refuses to come back unless you print a retraction in your next food review. So, I guess we come down to this, it’s you or the mayor.”
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