September 25th, 2006

...And the Other Shoe Drops (Rather Quietly)

All freelance writers would, I’m sure, be better people—and would absolutely be better freelancers—if they could serve a stint as editor. 

I had ever so hesitantly emailed an obnoxious medical professional about the supertechnical piece he’d submitted to Fibromyalgia AWARE.


No reply.


So I did what I normally do when faced with an obstacle: I tried to wangle my way around it. I asked another medical professional—one who is not, as I am, in the bad graces of the author himself—if she could make a layperson-friendly rephrase of the most complicated paragraphs.


That was a month ago.


This weekend I received an email that she’d finished the "translation," but then lost it, and could I send the original one more time?


This morning, the translation was in my inbox. Four concise paragraphs. Fabulous, no?




These four paragraphs were, it turned out, intended to replace the entire 1900-word submission. Not the most troubling paragraphs, but the whole damn piece.


Which left me with no choice but to phone the obnoxious medical professional, and email again (just to be safe), and state flat out that if I didn’t get a layperson-friendly paraphrase by the end of the week, I’d have to drop that section of the story.


That’s just the kind of mood I’m in.


Within minutes, I received a reply. “Thanks for the suggestions,” he wrote. (Maybe he forgot that he hates me.)


When I replied, he responded again immediately: “Will try to do by end of week.”


So now I’m left with all this righteous anger, and nowhere to direct it! I hope my phone bill arrives today, so I can call AT&T and vent. But in the meantime, I think I’ll drop my favorite editors a line, just to let them know they’re appreciated. And I’ll keep my fingers crossed that some of these medical professionals end up with editing gigs that cross their eyes and cramp their toes. (I hate to suffer alone.)