A Writer’s Worst Nightmare

I always get a little nervous on the second Saturday night of each month before my community column is published in the Sunday Huntsville Times.

Basically, I’m afraid that the editor will make a change that will drastically alter my column and make me look like an idiot in front of thousands (well, okay, maybe a couple of hundred) of people. I have visions of people coming up to me in Target and saying, “Hey aren’t you the guy who writes that drivel in the Sunday paper?”

Last Saturday night, all that pre-publication angst turned into a writer’s worst nightmare.

In my dream, I excitedly opened the Sunday paper only to find that my column had been edited and reduced to three measly paragraphs. The three paragraphs barely contained enough detail about my trip with Keith to even tell what had happened. The text was located in the middle of the column and above and below there was only blank space. My picture was gone, and there was no byline with my name.

Instead there was a byline which read: “This column has been edited by Amy _______ (in my dream I saw the last name, but I couldn’t remember it later), a graduate of Cornell University.”

I remember thinking in my dream: Amy _________, a graduate of Cornell University? Well, la dee da! Who the #$%^*#@! does she think she is?

I awoke with a start, and after a few seconds of that Never-Never-Land sensation, I felt the flood of relief that comes with the realization that what you have just experienced was merely a bad dream. I glanced at the clock: 5:30 AM.

I stumbled out of bed, made some coffee, and for the next hour waited anxiously by the front door for the paper to arrive. The delivery person was later than usual.

But I finally heard the blessed “thump” in the driveway and ran to retrieve it (thankfully, there were no neighbors out to witness the scene–I think). Right there, in the middle of the driveway, I quickly found the Forum section, opened it, and once again felt a rush of relief as I realized it was all there–plus a few minor changes which actually made the column read even better.

All was well after all. I was glad that the editors at The Huntsville Times had not listened to Amy, even if she was a graduate of Cornell University.

  1. Brady

    I don’t know about editing, but Cornell is one of the world’s leading hospitality education centers.

    I know… Big deal.

  2. Mike the Eyeguy

    I didn’t know that, Brady, thanks. I’m all for Amy going into hotel or restaurant management rather than editing. I didn’t feel that the way she edited my column was very hospitable at all.

  3. Stoogelover

    So I’m not the only one who has strange dreams! We all know a couple of “Amy’s” out there.

  4. Mike the Eyeguy

    I think she was the one who used to come up to you in the foyer and say, “Now about that sermon…”

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