Email awakens the cranky muse
April 09, 2008
It is an interesting thing sitting at this desk. Obviously, it is a job. My job. A job that sprung out of a passion for writing and trying to find a way to earn money doing something I love. Not a difficult thing for poets—just ask one of the dozen or so you may know. We're everywhere.
Maya Angelou says you have to make sacrifices for something you love, and for me, giving up writing poetry to write other things is one of them. It's still writing.
What becomes interesting here is that since we put out a product that provides information on local happenings—news, feature stories, opinions, letters, columns—it is presumed that somehow it all happens magically and for free.
I haven't been feeling well for quite some time now. On Friday I actually called in sick—something that is extremely dreadful because there is always, always so much to do and any time I'm away from here it just piles up higher. I'm quite certain this is the same for people in all types of jobs everywhere.
In any event, when I'm not here I do not have access to email. So on Monday I come into some very interesting emails involving the fact that I did not respond to emails that were sent to me on Friday. Most of them are okay—people just wondering if I did in fact receive the emails. That's fine, too. I'm sure people were wondering what was up. Was I ignoring their requests for things to go in the paper? I can see how this could occur.
What I can't see is the tone of one particular email from a person who insists on remaining anonymous. This anonymous person sent me an email last week about a "situation" that was reported "to the authorities" in March but no "newspeople" have reported on it.
Of course I email the person back and say this: "I am interested in covering this story but need your contact information, please. It will be kept confidential but would be helpful if I could talk to you and ask you some questions. Or you may call me on Thursday, April 3 at 810-724-2615. Thank you for this email as I am interested in the story. Please respond either via email or phone, and thanks again."
The person emails back and says this (verbatim): "I'm sorry but I am staying anonymous. If you have questions of my please feel free to ask. But, I'm not giving out my phone or address."
If I remember correctly, I gave the person the option of calling me on "Thursday, April 3" so they wouldn't have to give out their phone number or address.
On Thursday, the person emails and says they'd really like to read the story if I look into it. Ok. So be it. It falls to the bottom of the "to-do" list. When I have time I'll attempt to get some sort of confirmation from somewhere whether or not what this anonymous person is alleging is true. In the meantime, there are real stories from legitimate sources that must be assigned, written, read, and put together in the three remaining business days of our week.
On Friday I don't come into the office because I'm not well. On Friday the anonymous person sends an email and says this (verbatim, again, by the way): "You said you were interested in this. Now, since I wont give out my personal info you dont even have any questions? Are you going to be covering this story or not? I'm going to write to another paper and see what they will do if you aren't going to do anything with this."
So I figure I'll go back to my roots. It's been such a long time since I've been inspired to wax poetic and I must say these communications have awakened my muse:
Such a nice email, it's a lovely way to be greeted in the morning after a sick day.
Obviously I should drop
everything and be in a rush to research claims that are anonymous.
Yes it's true, I was sick
and away from my desk,
but I should apparently know better, based on the threats.
And alas, I return and will say with great ease,
It's a free country, make as many phone calls as you please...
Perhaps the first one could be to the "authorities."
Okay, so maybe the muse is a little cranky. Like me, she's not feeling so well.
Email Catherine (at your own risk) at