Last year my Goodbye Freelancing piece got a lot of attention and traffic, more than anything I’ve ever written (if you haven’t read it I suggest you click on that link).
This past month I decided to send out a few queries to sites I thought were perfect for some ideas I had. Places I’ve written for a dozen times over the years.
No response at all. Zero. Zilch. Nada. It reminded me why I wrote that piece in the first place.
I’ve been thinking about the lyrics to this song. Replace “dear” and “sweetheart” with “editor” and it could be about writers waiting for a response to a query, a response to a follow-up, a check for work they’ve done, or even a quick, kind note.
Now there’s a phrase you don’t hear anymore. I miss it.
Nobody goes to a newspaper – a print newspaper! – for the weather anymore. There’s an app for that, as my local TV stations remind me every seven minutes. But I miss a world where newspapers were the main source of news, local and national and international. It was a finite world but you got all of the information you needed if you read it cover to cover. And it was 100% new and updated the very next day. A miracle!
And I miss when everyone watched the nightly news because not all news is of the breaking variety; sending resumes through the mail on nice paper because I’m never sure if they’re even getting it on the other end if I use an online form; late night shows that had guests on who weren’t even plugging anything and hosts that didn’t run out to high-five the audience; longer TV commercials that weren’t too loud and trying so hard to get our attention; and heavy rotary phones that you could really slam down because it’s no fun to push a wimpy button when you’re good and mad.
I miss busy signals.
And phone booths and phone books that were more interesting to read than some novels. And calling the operator. I miss when people didn’t bring their phones to the holiday dinner table.
And girls named Mildred and Peggy and Arlene (all of the grandmothers in 30 years are going to be named Kelly and Brittany and Ashley); words like “poppycock” and “lummox” and “gosh”; when people didn’t say “like” three times in one sentence; getting cashed checks back from the bank; matchbooks, even though I don’t smoke; people who wore hats other than baseball caps; blogs that were updated regularly; handwritten thank you notes, and the community built when we all watched the same TV show at the same time.
But I don’t miss social media.
Do you know what the weather’s supposed to be today? Paper says it might rain.
I usually link to my weekly Saturday Evening Post column over on the right but once in a while I like to post it here, in the meaty part of the site, where you can’t miss it. This week: a weird winter, new books, conversation hearts, Oscar noms, Kirk Douglas and Mary Higgins Clark, the phone on the wind, and how to make pizza at home.
Also: The next edition of The Letter is coming in two weeks. Keep your eyes on your mailbox.
Reading: I Didn’t Come Here To Argue – Peg Bracken
Listening To: Introducing Linda Lawson – Linda Lawson. I don’t know why this 1960 album isn’t more well-known, especially “The Meaning of the Blues” and “Where Flamingos Fly.”
Watching: Evil. Smart and creepy.
Eating: Goetze’s Caramel Creams. I ate these all the time when I was a kid – Ford was president – and recently rediscovered them. I’m officially addicted.