July 25, 2001
These are the months to read Bruno Schultz's "Street of Crocodiles." Treat yourself if you've not read it. I lucked out with two stellar novels back-to-back. "Passage" is about a psychologist studying near-death experiences. It's part scientific mystery-thriller, part character study, and all smart. Plus, you get to learn more about the Hindenberg, Titanic, and a big circus fire than you ever dreamed you would. The entire book functions as a metaphor; the hospital's endless construction and paging system echoes the passageways of the Titanic echoes the neural signals of the brain. Highly recommended. As is "A Small Death in Lisbon" by Robert Wilson (no, not that Robert Wilson...no, not that Robert Wilson either). A fairly masterful literary-historical mystery, parallel stories move through time, weaving Nazi economics with human brutality and the fate of Portugal. I learned an incredible amount about the complicity of 'neutral' countries during WWII, about Portugal's political history, and the atmosphere of Lisbon. One thread of the narrative is a straight police procedural, the other a tale of greed and power. This is the sort of well-researched, compelling mystery that puts most thrillers to shame. The book won an award. It's very dense and very worth your time.
Still a deafening silence as if cyberspace has eaten my faint cries for employment whole cloth. I did get one "that position has been filled" email and one "please send writing samples". I am not alone, however. I am so not alone that it explains the silence. Panic Attack. Good thing that getting a publishing job isn't the main goal of my life.
July 20, 2001
my response: I'm responding to your listing at Journalismjobs.com for full-time copy editors and would like to throw my hat in the ring. I have an extensive, albeit spotty, background in both print and online media; copy editing, proofreading, and fact-checking. By spotty I mean that I've not have the requisite five years news/copy editing experience on a large-circulation daily. However, I'm an avid reader and newshound, have worked under cyclical deadline pressure at periodicals and for Women.com networks, and am very fast, accurate, thorough, and engaged.
I'm also good with the snappy headlines. I can make prose tight, flowing, and comprehensible without sacrificing author style or essential content. And I can differentiate essential from filler. Plus, I'm a delight to have around. All this plus flexibility and a short ride on the F-train, and you can put me through rigorous tryouts for sheer sadistic pleasure.
her response: Dear Ms. X,
You may well be a "delight to have around," and I may have sadistic tendencies, but is no reason to torture you with our tryout process at this point. Your resume shows no experience in editing at a daily newspaper, and that's what we're looking for here.
Thanks for your interest in The Times.