Here I blog about writing, editing, reading, books, submissions, freelancing, getting published (and rejected), journalism, revisions, life after the MFA, teaching writing, and living the writer's life. Welcome. BUT -- if you are a writer: Write first, read blogs second.




Thursday, July 31, 2008

One Lit Journal Editor and the Mathemathics of Submissions


In an interview, the editor of a really fine lit mag, Hayden's Ferry Review, Beth Staples, who's been pretty busy lately promoting the journal, says a few things which caught my attention.

First, she came to the editor job straight from an MFA program, albeit with experience working as a graduate assistant at HFR while in grad school. Still, I'm inspired. Jobs for MFA graduates, lit jobs, do exist.

I also found her explanation of the math of submissions of interest. Of the 1,300 prose submissions they receive for each issue, about 90 percent are fiction, which makes a nonfiction writer like me quite happy – instead of competing with approximately 1,170 other submissions for a spot, if I were to submit a piece of creative nonfiction, I'd only be up against about 130 others! Well, one needs every advantage and any scrap of encouragement is useful.

And finally, speaking about how much nonfiction they do publish, I was both surprised and pleased to read:

"One thing I’ll mention is that we don’t get many nonfiction submissions. For our “Works of Witness” issue (#39), that theme really lent itself to nonfiction, and we published 4 or 5 essays. In our last issue (#42) the editors didn’t choose any nonfiction because they simply didn’t feel strongly about anything we got. We’d definitely like to see more essay submissions."


Did I mention that I do most of my submissions on what I call Send Out Saturdays? One Saturday morning a month, I spend a few hours on the marketing-submission process.

I'll be busy tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"So, How Does It Feel?"


"So, how does it feel?"

Every time in my life when I have been asked this question, I have never known what to say except perhaps, "I'm not sure yet. Check back in a few days/weeks/months."

People asked it after I got married, after my horse qualified for a major national event, after I gave birth the first time, after I had my first publication…..and just recently, after I finished an MFA program.

How does it feel?

How about disconcerting? Relieved. Sad. A little bewildering. Proud. Worried. Unmoored. And, inevitably, not much different.

The degree is an accomplishment, yes. But I still feel like a struggling writer, meaning not one who struggles to write, but who struggles daily with trying to write better, to write something of value, to write to a higher standard than yesterday. That struggle, I know, will -- and should – go on, regardless of any courses, degrees, publications or paychecks. So that part feels rather the same.

Yet, as I sit at my desk each morning, at least one thing does feel different.

I'm a deadline person. Deadlines are my friends. Give me a deadline and I am a productive person. Things get done. Ideas turn into copy and drafts become editable manuscripts. Deadlines mean I am in action. [OK, for those who know me, I admit yes, I am a pretty disciplined person anyway, deadlines or not. But a deadline helps, always.] And so, with the absence of academic deadlines, coupled with it being the middle of summer (translation: kids are home, and bored) I'm a bit adrift.

Which is not to say I don't have deadlines -- from magazine, newspaper and book editors for whom I'd doing freelance articles and essays. I do (thank God, I do). But a deadline for the "real world," for some insane reason, doesn't seem to have the power of a deadline for "school" – to others and sometimes, to me. Used to be, I'd close the office door, tell everyone – kids, husband, friends, relatives, the PTA -- "I have a grad school deadline," and that was that. Don't bother Mom/Lisa, she's got a school deadline, they'd say, and quietly go away. Now, not so easy.

I always meet all those real-world deadlines, just as I did with MFA deadlines, and I'm often early (I do want to keep working), always trying to impress an editor. But somehow those deadlines just don't feel quite the same.

So for those who want to know "how does it feel" to be done -- with an all-consuming two-year MFA program which took over much of my life -- that's the answer.

The same, and different.

But, you might want to check back in a few months or weeks or days.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Learning About Rejection from Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch died early today.

He was the Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor who found unusual
fame last fall when his Last Lecture speech set the Internet afire. The resulting book, co-written by Jeffrey Zaslow, has been a NYT bestseller for months. I know nothing about computer science and thankfully pancreatic cancer has not touched my family or anyone close. But I'm always interested in elegantly articulated final thoughts by folks who know they are dying and continue to make a contribution by speaking about the process, and about their lives.

(Before I talk about his speech and book, I want to note that Pausch was a stellar contributor already, a star in the computer science community, cofounding the
Entertainment Technology Center at CMU, inventing free software that makes it fun for kids (especially girls) to learn computer programming, and pioneering a number of other groundbreaking projects I am way too tech-challenged to even describe. So even if he never gave a last lecture, the world would still have lost a vital contributor.)
Pausch's Last Lecture was spirited, creative and informal. As a parent, a 40-something adult, and as someone who has always said I want to know when my time is winding down, I found it riveting and – well, there's no other way to say it: fun. But as a writer I also came away with something extra.

I listened to the unabridged audio version of the book a few weeks ago during the seven-plus hour drive to the final residency of my MFA program. At one point, Pausch talks about times when he did NOT accomplish a goal – a very few times, as this was a man (and formerly a child and teen) who rarely had an
unrequited achievement.

"Experience is what you get
when you don't get what you want," Pausch said.

On the drive, I was thinking about the presentation I would give during the residency which focused on changing writers' thinking about the submission process, so that it can feed a writer's creative work instead of being seen as a dreaded necessary evil.

When a writer doesn't get what he/she wants in the submission process, it's usually called rejection. And although at least one very successful writer I know refuses to use that word – instead saying she "offers" her work, and an editor either accepts or "declines" – the bottom line is that,
when you submit, you want a yes and when the answer is no, that's not getting what you want.

In the portion of my presentation that dealt with rejection, I decided to use Pausch's line, to remind writers that not getting what we want -- getting a decline, a no, a rejection – could instead be thought of as getting (gaining?) experience. Who doesn't want more experience?

It's a stretch, maybe. But even before I heard Pausch's line, I had decided – in an attempt to create a healthy mental environment for myself when I began submitting work again after a lengthy hiatus -- that instead of dreading rejections, I would welcome them. Huh?

The math supports me on this. Even well-published folks say they still get rejections, and that for every published piece, several rejections usually precede the acceptance. It only takes one acceptance to be published. So the way I figure, the sooner I get the rejections out of the way, the sooner an acceptance may be headed my way. (Gotta kiss the frogs first, right?)

Now instead of seeing a rejection as a red light or a STOP sign, I try to think of it as a green light, as in: You are now free to submit this piece to another, perhaps more welcoming publication/editor. I now keep a special place for rejections – both in my office and in my mind. I don't wish them to disappear, I don't hate to look at them, and I don't wish they'd never come my way. We all need more experience. Who would reject experience?

When Randy Pausch got a terminal diagnosis – which he outlasted by several months – it certainly was not what he wanted.



But look what he did with the experience.



Monday, July 21, 2008

Guest Blogger Gina Vozenilek on slush piles, sports, journal editing, and MFAs

Note from Lisa: When I very briefly met Gina Vozenilek last year, I was struck by what sounded like her very cool job because at the time I was looking for a home for an essay about my former life as a hunter/jumper horse show competitor. Later, it was a pleasure to have Gina edit my work, and I was pleased too to discover her writing and that we had each written about some of the same mothering dilemmas.

Please welcome Gina Vozenilek.

When Lisa asked me to post on her blog while she labors in the final throes of her MFA, I was simultaneously honored and jealous. I met Lisa briefly at the NonFictioNow conference in Iowa City in the fall of 2007 and know her through her words, which I first admired as an editor at Sport Literate Magazine.
Her essay entitled “A Well-Jumped Fence,” which we published this spring in our “Winners and Losers” issue, really stood out from the pile. I thought I might muse a bit about it from an editorial perspective, assuming that if you are reading Lisa’s blog, more likely than not, you’ve got submissions in slush piles all over the place, too.

But first to the jealousy bit. I can’t help marveling at a mom finishing an MFA. Kudos! A mom finishing a sentence is pretty noteworthy in my book these days. I have four kids myself and usually feel entitled to someone’s congratulations if my family all has two clean socks and three squares a day. I dream of finding the time for my own literary art in a world dominated by cartoons and crayons. Being a freelance writer and editor seems to suck up every artistic minute I can squeeze from a day. I realized with a start just today as I sat at the public pool, chauffeur to the kids’ swim lessons, that if I started an MFA program now I would not be finished by my 40th birthday.
[I’d be happy for some suggestions on good creative nonfiction programs in the Chicago area, or low-residency options anywhere.]

Lisa’s essay is about the forward movement of life, simultaneously away from old passions (in her case, equestrian competition) and grounded in them. Her work appealed to me as a mother. She evoked some feelings I have had myself: how I traded in a sporty stick shift for a minivan and drove away from my PhD program in English at Iowa. “I love that my sons want to know about this part of my pre-Mom, pre-wife life,” Lisa writes of her horse memories. Similarly, I need my children to know that there was a “before” to their mother.

But as an editor, just the resonance of Lisa’s theme alone would not be enough to recommend her essay for publication. I don’t suppose writers get lucky merely by hitting on editors’ favorite ideas. It was the art of her writing that did it for me. She executed her theme and packaged those memories, without sap, in a solid wood tack box, the artifact of the life she left behind:


“ …in addition to equestrian equipment, the tack box held a former me—someone who could judge distances, calculate strides, and evaluate footing, while holding the reins to a 1,200-pound horse, galloping fast toward a four-foot fence; a mediocre though competent rider, but an excellent horseperson, someone who aspired and achieved …the tack box, kept all those years, serving no obvious or useful purpose, is really about passion, and about once-in-a-lifetime.”

Many times as an editor I read things that are well written at the sentence level but poorly realized on the larger scale, or vice versa. Editing for a publication topically interested in sports presents a further layer of complication. It’s an unusual niche; perhaps the writer is a sportsperson first and a writer second. So my eye is trained on the superb writer who has a story to tell through the vehicle of sport. I don’t care a jot myself for horses, but the tack box Lisa uses as a motif throughout her work proved to be a treasure chest of literary nonfiction.

As a postscript, I’d also like to say that
Sport Literate’s fall football issue and contest is in production, the winning essay having been selected by Creative Nonfiction’s Lee Gutkind. But we are taking submissions for our spring general issue, and I welcome you to give us a read and send us your essays and poetry.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Rocks, Rough Drafts and Reminders

I'll be back to reality (all too) soon, but meanwhile, I get a few more days on Maine's coast, where today I watched my game husband and two sure-footed adventurous sons hike out over a football field sized area of shoreline rocks. While they (stupidly took their lives in their hands, I mean) explored,

I sat on a smooth and surprisingly warm flat rock for a half-hour, pulled out my always-with-me mini-notebook and what else -- wrote…because how could one not? The waves crashing a hundred yards away, family members all in good moods (even – especially the teenager), the sun, the lack of to-do lists...It was a lovely moment – feeling like a writer in the middle of a week of family togetherness (the two don't always go so easily in hand). Especially sweet when you figure in that looming in the back of my mind was the fact that in a few days, when I get back home, the post-MFA future awaits -- without any fixed plans, reassuring deadlines, contracts which mention money, checks-in-the-mail, editor demands, or interviews.

So I sat on that rock, its warmth underneath me somehow reassuring, and roughed out a few new segments to go with a larger piece of work that is still evolving. I sat on that rock and I knew that whatever lies ahead, back in New Jersey, back in my needs-to-be-decluttered/purged/stripped office (and post-MFA mind), I have at least one writing project that will keep me engaged for a few months (years?). Maybe that's enough.

Later, I nipped in to one of those awful/wonderful little beach town shops and with the help of my younger son (obviously not the moody teenager), selected a few more infinity circles for my necklace (silver rings imprinted w/inspirational words): commitment, family, remember, and...live.

'Cause amidst family and other commitments, and in between everything I want to remember to write about, one must...
LIVE.

I'm actually not that good about doing this last thing. It often gets left off the to-do list. And I need the reminder.

As one of my former MFA faculty members once said, in advising me how to get through an extremely rough patch in my personal life, while navigating semester requirements: "Living first, writing second."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Guest Blogger Jenny Rough on the Passion for Writing

With me being a lazy vacationing writer, I'm glad to have Jenny Rough as today's guest blogger. I admire Jenny for her ability to reinvent – and firmly establish -- herself as a freelance writer in a few short years. She's witty, smart and has an interestingly varied background and clip file.

Please welcome Jenny Rough.


Hi, Lisa Romeo’s blog readers. It’s great to be visiting here today. I feel like I’m posting on an official “writing” blog. On my own blog (Roughly Speaking), I try to stick to the topic of the writing life, but too often I tend to veer off on irrelevant subjects like my love for Los Angeles or issues with fertility or sometimes even Biblical passages.

So here’s a question for Lisa’s blog readers: What do you do? Are you also writers?

What do you do? That’s such a common question. Back in the old days – in a previous career before I started writing full time – I wouldn’t answer in a straightforward way. “I work for a law firm,” I would say.

Or later, when I was assistant general counsel at a university, I’d say, “I work in a legal department.”

My husband used to find this amusing. “Why don’t you just tell people you’re a lawyer?” he’d ask.

The truth? I never felt like a lawyer. I felt like an imposter. But the minute I decided to leave my job and launch a career as a freelancer, I told anyone and everyone who cared to listen, “I’m a writer!” That was over three years ago when I barely had a clip to my name – a couple of legal articles in trade publications and an essay I’d sold that hadn’t even been published.
Yet saying those words felt authentic.

These days my husband is still amused by my answer to the question “What do you do?” Only now he’s amused for different reasons, because once I tell people, “I’m a writer,” he says he notices people tend to be fascinated and will launch into all sorts of related questions: What kind of writing? What articles are you working on? Do you have a website? A blog? Are you writing a book? Then, as an afterthought, they’ll turn to my husband and say, “And what do you do?” When he tells them he’s a portfolio manager in the financial services industry, he claims their eyes glaze over, they stifle a yawn, and immediately turn their attention back to me and the topic of writing.

Being a writer is an exciting profession. I’m grateful that I can spend my days doing something I’m passionate about, and I love finding out what other people are passionate about.

So nix my initial question. Instead, answer this one: if you could have any job in the world, what would you do?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

That's a Wrap

The MFA is done...and two year's worth of fatigue has finally caught up with me. I'm far too tired even to brush my teeth, let alone blog. So, I'll catch up in a week or so with all the info on the end of the final residency, graduation and -- I promise -- answers (or at least attempts) to the two questions everyone keeps asking, "How does it feel?" and "Now what?"

Meanwhile, I'm spending the week napping, laying in the sand, eating clam chowder, playing mini-golf, eating ice cream, reading magazines and (non-literary) three-hour novels, playing badminton, eating lobster, and filling pages in my writing journal with doodles, tic-tac-toe, and the trolley schedule.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Still in Residence

It's just past the halfway point in my final MFA residency and while I'm far too exhausted both mentally and physically to post anything lengthy or terribly insightful, here's a quick rundown, some random thoughts.

- Best seminar so far? Today, one given by visiting writer
Jamie Cat Callan on what can be learned from scriptwriters and the classic structuring devices they employ. Her presentation was completely engaging, fun, far too short even at 90 minutes, and packed with usable insights; so glad my equally interesting fellow Stonecoast student Ann Rosenquist Fee lobbied for Callan to join the residency.

- That master class workshop I was leery about because it was being led by a poet? Terrific.

- That presentation I was worried about giving? From where I stood, a success; one reason -- I had a good time, so good I ran out of time way before I ran out of material. That's when I knew I could breathe.

- Got to work with a performance coach, William Steele, a USM theater professor and professional actor, in preparation for my upcoming reading. Actors know so much writers can use when it comes to reading aloud. About phrasing. Pacing. Rhythm. Peeling the emotions off the page. Volume control. Eye contact. So much.

- You know how, when someone introduces a writer they begin with, "It is my pleasure (or honor) to introduce…" Well, I found out this week – that's not just a line. It truly was a pleasant (if nerve wracking) honor to stand up in front of a packed room and give an introduction for my final semester mentor, the incomparable Barbara Hurd, who read from her new book of essays, Walking the Wrack Line. (you can read an excerpt here)

Hope you are enjoying the guest blogs that have been (and will keep) popping up here while I'm busy and slightly crazed. Next report from me will likely include the word graduation. Sniff. And, hooray.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Guest Blogger Raye Tibbitts on (18 months) After The MFA


Embarrassing. I ask my friend Raye Tibbitts (essayist, writing teacher, memoirist-in-progress, newspaper reporter and former zine publisher), to guest blog and what does she do but turn it into a post partially about me….hmm…I considered putting on an editor's hat and insisting she tone it down, but in the spirit of having invited talented guests to "write whatever you want," I'm going to let it go. Anyway, Raye has proven to me in the past that she knows – instinctively and craft-wise – just what she wants to say, damn it, and to step aside. So I will. - Lisa

Please welcome Raye Tibbitts.

Before I say anything else, let me say it is an absolute honor that Lisa asked me to guest blog while she’s in her graduating residency at
Stonecoast this week. Not only do I admire her as a writer, but she is hands-down one of the smartest professionals I have ever met, and I shudder to think of where I would be 18 months out of the same graduate program without her correcting my navigation at the various crossroads I have met.

On contemplating whether or not an agent will ever come across my
blog and offer to shop my book around (imagine a Jane Austen-esque scene with me staring hopefully into the starry sky, offering little personal trades to the literary gods), Lisa says, “Snap out of it, Raye. What you’re going to do is write a query letter with a link to your blog and find the agent yourself.”

On whether or not I should have taken the role of “pro” (read: modestly compensated) blogger for the Portland Press Herald’s new website,
Raising Maine (since I had decided I wasn’t a bad mother anymore and sort of cringed when people associated me with the title), Lisa said, “Of course you’re going to take this job. It doesn’t matter if they pay you in eggs, this is your platform we’re talking about.”

All right. I don’t know if she said anything about eggs, but you get the gist.

Eighteen months after finishing graduate school, I am getting the hang of pitching a story again to a different publication if it gets rejected by the first (rather than sulk inconsonantly in my bathrobe). Eighteen months out of graduate school, I hear Lisa’s voice in my head saying, “There are a bazillion editors out there. Find one you click with.” Eighteen months out of graduate school, and I finally feel like this life, the writing life, is really possible.

I graduated from Stonecoast in January 2007 with a handful of publications and prizes on my resume, and the letters M.F.A. after my name (not that I ever put them there, but it’s nice to know that I could if I wanted to). That’s it. I had cobbled together only a stellar career as a waitress/library clerk/baker/proofreader/whatever-I-could-do-at-night-or-early-in-the-morning-so-that-I-could-have-extra-money-and-stay-home-with-my-kids.

Unlike Lisa, I had no background in marketing or public relations or journalism or anything. I didn’t even major in English as an undergraduate. I couldn’t hack it to be honest. I was raised by the TV and once I discovered that I could write pretty insightful papers about
South Park, I skipped over to Media Studies where I could analyze up a storm without having to read Moby Dick.

I decided to go to graduate school for really only one reason. I wanted a night job that would put me further along the path of unloading the writer I secretly carried around on my back, a little hump of literary ambition that I managed to nurture furtively in the margins of my life as primary caregiver to our three boys. I thought, hey, I’ll become an adjunct English instructor (whoops….don’t say professor, that really raises the hackles on those tenure track few), and even if I never finish a book, at least I’ll be doing something that has something to do with writing even if it has nothing specifically to do with my writing.

Yes, I wanted to grow as a writer and all that stuff I’m sure I put in my application packet, but my motives were primarily practical. I needed a job and I thought teaching was something I could do.

The good news is that I got exactly what I wanted out of graduate school. In the last 18 months, I have taught at two different colleges and I’ve got to say -- if you don’t mind driving all over the state (at least this is the case in Maine, which is fairly rural), and the income isn’t the one you count on (you don’t get paid between semesters and you may never know for sure how many classes will end up running….you may be hired to teach three, but only one session will enroll enough students to go ahead) -- being an English adjunct is a great thing.


Nobody is going to get rich working as “contract faculty,” and if I didn’t have a spouse pulling in a consistent and reliable paycheck with benefits, teaching like this would make me crazy. But for now it’s just the sort of gig that meets our needs for flexibility, minimal outside childcare (which is prohibitively expensive on one state employee’s and one freelancer’s income), and almost enough moo-la to keep everyone in sneakers and sweat pants.

And there’s more good news. Thanks to Lisa, I also started pitching stories to community publications in my area, and guess what? They are publishing them. And thanks to my third semester Stonecoast project – the creation of Bad Mother Chronicles, a little zine for the parenting-challenged – I have connected with lots of editors all over the country. The
list of publications on my CV has grown to well over a solid page.

I am slowly cobbling together a career that includes teaching and editing and writing and greeting and networking and writing and reading and BEING in collaboration with my dreams and ambitions, prayers and goals.

To which Lisa says, “So it was worth it?”

More than I could ever imagine.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Getting Ready....To Finish

It starts tomorrow. The final residency of the MFA degree, and I feel….well, a dozen different ways. I won't bore you with all of them, except to say it's a most exquisite and painful mix of accomplishment and trepidation, confidence and insecurity. Perhaps, as the residency progresses, I will be more able to put it into words (hey, isn't that what this whole creative nonfiction thing is all about anyway?).

Meanwhile, here are a few things I am looking forward to during the eight days at
Stonecoast:

- Being "in the mix" once again, surrounded by
fellow student writers of varying genres, backgrounds, goals, and ways of looking at the creative world – the conversations and camaraderie are priceless.

- Soaking up -- well, everything, but especially the unique blend of advice, technical know-how, experiences, anecdotes, wisdom and encouragement of the interestingly varied faculty.

- Without the need to attend every evening reading, to fill out evaluations

verifying attendance at a set number of seminars, and the awful anxiety of the "mentor lottery," I'm hoping that the stress level may be notched down a little.

- It's the last residency. I have LOVED nearly every minute of my MFA low-residency experience. LOVED it. Along the way, I've mused how great it would be to have another year or two in the program, and yet the timing now seems exactly right. Time to reenter my life, albeit from a richer vantage point, but it is time. My kids, husband, friends – and my checkbook – want me back.


And here's what I'm dreading:

- It's the last residency. Sure, we have our own little writing communities at home, but there's something entirely distinctive – matchless really – about coming together with roughly the same group of artistic individuals every few months and more or less checking in on one another. To slake somewhat my itch to get away every once in a while and take an immersion bath in writing, I know I will attend conferences and the like, and maybe even an alumni event. It will be wonderful; and absolutely not the same.


- I've signed up for both a master class workshop for graduating students (led by a faculty member who is primarily a poet – talk about intimidating) and to be an assistant for a second workshop (with a new and interesting faculty member) for non-graduating CNF students. Doesn't sound much like a stress-free schedule, huh?

- Graduating students are required to give a one-hour presentation on a topic of their choosing, and to give a 20-minute reading of creative work. I've selected a topic that's comfortable to me: Submit (and Publish?) vs. Craft Development – It doesn't have to be one or the other. And I've never been worried about reading to others. So why am I a rattling nervous ninny?


So, here goes. Maybe on the 7+ hour drive – with two books on CD and a stopover with relatives along the way to distract me. -- I'll stare down my nerves and come up with a plan to both savor the week and say goodbye without too much melancholy. What are the odds, do you suppose?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Writing, Horses and Mentors on the Rail

I once made a sizable part of my living writing about equestrian sports (so long ago there's nothing to link to), and so when I read that Maryjean Wall retired, it struck a nerve of sorts. Wall was the first full time sportswriter to exclusively cover horse racing. I rarely wrote about racing, instead concentrating on the horse sports like show jumping, three day eventing, dressage, hunter competitions, equitation -- even endurance riding, barrel racing and polo.

I never met Wall, though I had heard of her. But someone not too unlike her was an important mentor to me –
Nancy Jaffer, probably the most prominent and skilled writer covering domestic and international equestrian sports today. Decades ago she convinced editors at New Jersey's major newspaper that an occasional horse show column needed to be a permanent fixture in the sports pages -- where it belongs, still under her byline.

Jaffer has covered the equestrian events at the Olympics, World Cup, Pan Am Games and everything in-between,
written or co-authored several books on training and equestrian athletes, and has made the leap to web writing look like trotting over a six-inch rail. Nearly 30 years ago, she took me under her wing when I was a college journalism student doing volunteer publicity for a New Jersey horse show, and she was incredibly gracious when about five years later, I landed on the equestrian journalism ladder and we became colleagues of a sort (she already had a secure position at the top rung, and while I left that arena long ago, she still is at the top of her game).

Wall elbowed aside the outdated thought that a racing writer had to be male, and Jaffer trounced the notion that covering horse sports belonged on the society pages. I'm sure in many ways I later benefited from both. So I'm hoping Wall has a wonderful retirement from the daily newspaper grind, and I'm also hoping the equestrian journalists who'll head to Beijing this summer – along with Jaffer – will have some sense of both of their efforts.


Thank you, I suppose, seems in order.