Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Guidelines

Lorrie Moore. I forgot Lorrie Moore in the story-writer list in yesterday’s post. I knew there was someone, and tonight her name came back to me. (I was once reading an advance copy of a Lorrie Moore collection on the Tube and when I got off this really attractive American woman ran after me and asked, with great eagerness, ‘Where did you get that?’ None of this happens often – the woman, the running after, the question – and it took me a second to realise what she wanted, which was Lorrie Moore, not me at all.)

Meanwhile, someone emails asking for submissions guidelines. We don’t have any. Nor do we have appraisal forms, sexual harassment policies or mission statements. If we had an office, we might have to have all of those, and a water cooler and a post room too, and a fire alarm test once a month, but we don’t.

Explaining this took longer than replying to the email with a ready-made attachment, so maybe we should have some guidelines after all. No gratuitous descriptions of the countryside. No work that includes the word ‘luncheon’. No work that insists on telling me about minute differences between different makes of guns, or cars.

No. And none of that stuff about A4, double spacing and postage stamps either. People are intelligent, aren’t they? To treat them as if they’re not demeans both parties. And oddballs should be at least listened to. Besides, someone might want to send us erotic cartoons on the backs of envelopes with handwritten captions, which is fine.

1 comment:

Antony said...

"someone might want to send us erotic cartoons on the backs of envelopes with handwritten captions, which is fine"

This can be arranged. I know a man.