Tribute to an old hand

A wonderful but very sad post by Dave Knadler of Dave's Fiction Warehouse blog, on his last day as an employee, looking back over his long career in the newspaper business:

"I sat down at my desk, spooled paper into my Royal typewriter and stared at it. I knew a feeling of total despair. I could not leave until the story was finished, and yet as far as my memory served, absolutely nothing had occurred.
Fortunately, I had kept meticulous notes…. I went to work, faithfully transcribing the contents of my notebook into a chronological narrative that was, if anything, more tedious than the meeting itself. I know it took longer to write.
I left the whole mess on the editor's desk and got the hell out of there. It was long past midnight. The next afternoon I was afraid to look at the paper. But there was my story, on the bottom of page one. Except it wasn't my story. The beginning was different. Also the middle, and the end. And it was very short. I reread it and it dawned on me that a long-suffering editor had…pared away the worst of the crap to arrive at something at least marginally useful.
The rest, as they say, is history. I became a copy editor and a news editor and have passed the intervening decades fixing the work of others, excising cliches like "The rest, as they say, is history." Sometimes I've helped save reporters from catastrophic mistakes; at no time, I hope, have I ever made anything worse or harder to understand."

See also Dave's previous post, The ship has sunk.

1 thought on “Tribute to an old hand

  1. Last days are poignant, in a way you hope things may not go along without you – but of course they do. It is humbling, I suppose.

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