Budding Writer, 1979: … except when it’s not

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The moon sets through a cloudy sky on May 6, 2020, in Southbury, Connecticut.By Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

Lesson learned — or maybe not — in my journal from my early days as a freelancer, 44 years ago today:

Re: Yesterday’s entry. Don’t make fun of what makes you money, i.e. don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Today I was called that the Bath coverage was to be cancelled. Could have been timing, weather, road conditions, best for a closer reporter, lack of importance, or whatever, but my fifteen dollars fell through. And fifteen dollars is fifteen dollars.

Journal, Volume II
14 March 1979

This editor today would point out that when the writer wants to use a trite expression, he should pick the right one. The one about counting chickens is better suited than the gift horse. The assignment wasn’t a gift, after all. It was a job.

Perhaps the assigning editor, realizing the long trip would be a hardship for me, offered it to a closer stringer. More likely, the meeting was canceled (correct AP style) or simply had a boring agenda.

Later in the same entry, I noted that I “put a big two sentences onto ‘Good King Wenceslas’ but will continue that in earnest tomorrow.”

Even after my day’s assignment “crumped,” in campus parlance, I still hadn’t learned my lesson. Tomorrow is not another day. Today is the most important day there is.

Or, as Frank Sinatra used to sing,

Let's forget about tomorrow
Let's forget about tomorrow
Let's forget about tomorrow for
Tomorrow never comes!

Nearly a half-century later, tomorrow still hasn’t come for some of those stories I was working on.

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