How tall do you want me to be? Pick the gender, choose the eye colour and the swarthy sneer, the derisive look that might make your day or send you into despair.
Yes, I am the hidden persona of the person who lurks behind the screen. I eat your words for breakfast and belch before I reach for a snack. You can’t gauge my mood, pander to my obsessions or kiss my ass.
I am an impartial witness to your fervent need to be published. I’m not the final authority, but if you pass through my gates, you’ve got a fighting chance.
The moat that lies between me and the final authority is not inhabited by snapping crocodiles or bloodied swords or littered by the carcasses--victims of my wrath. No, in fact, I’m generally kind, but even I have my sensitivities.
Please don’t submit plastic cheese—stories wrapped in individual sleeves that are commercial replicas of a marketing ploy. Have enough respect for my digestive tract that you’ll at least pay some cursory attention to presentation. Nothing annoys me more than poorly formatted stories that are forwarded with an inattentive copy/paste-send flick of the wrist. Read the damn thing before you forward.
I’ll forgive you if you are in a learning trajectory and have the moxie to begin your journey to the Pulitzer, but sloth and disrespect will etch itself into my brain. You’ll have a handicap when you submit the second time.
It takes something special to be an editor. It requires an open-ended compassion for the reason and purpose that a writer needs to share a story or an emotion. If I were to select a dream job for a day, it might be the journalist who interviews Bobby Orr’s coach or George Clooney’s agent. We don’t know their names. If they could skate as well or act, perhaps we’d know who they are.
Recognizing talent, nurturing and encouraging writers to excel is a lonely job and even the published authors who trip over their own egos might not remember me, but that’s fine with me. I’m hungry and in the mood for something special.
ESSAYS BY JADE