Squawk Radio

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I HAVE BEEN IN YOUR COUNTRY A LONG DISTANCE




I love words. I love when they are strung together in unexpected ways. I am not just referring to bad writing which can, of course, be utterly delicious such as one line I read in a romance years ago, “I was a robot of love churned from the cream of self-sacrifice.”
Not published. Guess why.

Not just that. I used to live in Pennsylvania and there was this sort of Mom and Pop old time steakhouse we used to go to for dinner. You know, the kind with the menu that is two feet tall. Right in the middle of the menu was the steakhouse motto which read, “We feel our specialties make us indifferent to all others.” Wonderful.

Unexpected also was the love scene that was two sentences long, “It was over before I knew it. And it wasn’t really what I expected.” Wonderful.

If you are worrying about hurt feelings, these examples are circa The Dark Ages so I don’t think anyone will recognize or claim these.

Unexpected – the time my mentor and then boss, Patrick O’Connor, was having a huge fight with a literary agent. A colleague said to Patrick, “Don’t worry, he’s his own worst enemy.” And Patrick responded, “Not while there’s breath in my body.”

I was very lucky to have Mr. O’Connor teach me to be an editor. My faults are my own but any strengths I have are due to his efforts. I was a baby editor at an editorial meeting and I finished presenting a book by saying, “ I could write better than this.” He didn’t exactly explode but he did point out that if you have never had the courage to put your butt in a chair and try, it would be best for everyone never, ever to make that claim.

Oh, and my title, someone said that to me on the street when they were asking me for money. I gave them some.

--Kate Duffy
Connie Brockway, 2:58 PM
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