Friday, December 15, 2006


Well the infamous "sword" issue of Gilbert magazine finally arrived at my door.

Maybe some of you wonder why The Flying Stars, a fairly OK, and sometimes downright great column, mentioned nothing, nothing at all, about swords.

Well, I have a very good reason. Here's what happened.

Deadline for column approaches. Nancy scrambles. Picks topic out of thin air, and writes deeply and concentratedly for at least 1/2 hour, knowing that she will be well paid and compensated overly much for all such efforts. She finishes her column and says to herself, "It is good."

Suddenly, Nancy realizes that the column is actually due TODAY. She e-mails it in, with a reminder to the editor-in-chief (an anonymous worker in some den or cave somewhere in South America) that maybe he should remind the other columnists that today is the actual DUE DATE for these things. He writes back and says, "Oh yeah, thanks."

A few days later, when Nancy considers her column "put to bed" as they say in our business, an e-mail comes through (now remember, this is a few days AFTER the stated and written due date) and this e-mail says, "Hey! Someone reminded me that the due date was a coupla days ago (not giving me ANY credit, you see, for being so Hermione-ish {wait till I draw up schedules and color code them, ha HA!}) and so get your columns in. By the way, this issue is going to be our "sword" issue, so if you have anything to say about swords, say it now." Or Forever Hold Your Peace somehow finishes the sentence in my mind.

Nancy now thinks, "Hmmm. What did I end up writing that was so gosh darn brilliant? I can't change my column now, not when it is about...something....something that has nothing to do with swords! And it's past the due date. Just forget it. I'll write about swords some other issue, probably when they get to the "umbrella" issue, I'll have a good "sword" column. And then just when I finally get a good "umbrella" column, they'll have moved on to "the Jewel" issue.


Such is the life of a Gilbert columnist.

But don't worry too much. We are highly paid professionals. We know what we are doing.


  1. Nancy, I wouldn't put up with that incompitent editor for two seconds. Next time you see him, smack him.

  2. You expect your life to be any different than GKC's? There's an essay in A Miscellany of Men which explains how his columns would get written - and it sounds as if it's a common ailment.

    And if you need to be REALLY amazed, read the story about... oh, heck, I forget. (and I don't have the magazine here with me!) But it was great. Something called "Return of Innocent", maybe?

    Actually, Nancy, your sword was merely a verbal one... good to see someone plunge such a weapon into the wicked heart of "dIvERsIty"...

  3. I got home now. That story is called "Innocent Again" and it is by James G. Bruen Jr. (He wrote another story I really liked, I have forgotten that title. I will have to look, and read it again, because I really liked it a lot.)

    Yes, "Innocent Again" is very good. It is time for us to write more such stories, whether with GKC's characters or our own.

  4. Bruen is one of our rising stars. You may noticed we moved his stuff from All is Grist to Tales of the Short Bow.

    The ending of "Innocent Again" made me cwy.

  5. ...Trub paces the floor, anxiously waiting for his own copy to arrive in the mail...

  6. More like one of the great lights of the firmament, set to shine there steadily and give directions. Did you know that even now the Air Force uses the stars for certain long-distance flights? (So I am told.)

    Isn't "cwy" the sound made by a crwth? (No that's not a typo; I really meant see-are-doublyou-tea-ache.)

    OK... so what was his other great work? What issue?

  7. Bruen has been in every issue going back to last spring some time. maybe last winter. he's been in AIG, but got moved to the Short Bow section only in the last issue or two.

    His first story for us was about a golfer who suddenly starts getting a lot of holes in one...


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