Reply to the Editor (sequel to ‘Letter from the Editor’ - see previous post first)
Dear Mr Montacute,
While applauding your bold approach and your undoubted keenness to bring my work ‘up to scratch’ as you so charmingly might phrase it, may I draw a small pause in proceedings in order to clarify some issues.
Naturally, I take your advice seriously, but may I gently remind you that it is my work we are discussing here, my name which will appear on the book, and I who will be judged by the result. As far as I know, the editor’s name does not appear (except in the unlikely event of a grateful author acknowledging him).
It is thus with some scepticism that I consider your suggestions, many of which I feel would simply destroy my ‘voice’ and stultify what I intend to be a sparkling and witty work by rigidifying both words and layout.
So let us discuss layout: Seven fonts is, in my opinion, the minimum necessary to convey the words I have carefully, o so carefully, crafted. Likewise the page layouts. My wife and my friends agree that expanding the font by two percent makes the world of difference to the Vicar’s intent, and the italics were applauded by all my keen critics as absolutely necessary! While your plea to restrict my soaring ideas has unfortunately been supported, to an extent, by the publisher, I shall not give an inch more on this, and I do not wish to discuss it further.
As to my ‘bon mots’, I see you have inadvertently touched accurately on their true worth. Indeed that is what they are: ‘good words’. ‘Queer as a minker’s squab’ is a well-known phrase in Overcote, for instance and most other places. My wife says she has ‘heard it often’ and indeed I use it frequently myself, as too the other phrases you so cruelly and ignorantly point a finger at. I know for a fact that many of these generate admiration in passing strangers – in my local for instance, many burst into spontaneous merriment at such enlivened and apposite language. Have you travelled much?
Finally, your comments on my language are inappropriate. As the author, I have placed each word in sequence and chosen it carefully (and well, according to those who have read my drafts). You may not realise this, of course, but for those with open minds and a poetic soul, the rhythm and flow of the words is a treat and a delight, at least I have been assured that this is so by Colonel Trotter and Miss Maybe, regular habitués of my writing group. Any interference on your part would disrupt and destroy the inherent beauty of my text. Thus:
… he took her hand in writhing bliss to lead her through the Stygian wood to Mother Nature in her ambit and taste the dim delights of lust in her verdant places. O perfidy! That there was no such sheer pleasure to be had that day as interruption intervened, enleavened by the sauntering policeman, Dick. …
Has been acclaimed as ‘perfect’ by Mrs Satterthwaite, and ‘something which could never be improved on’ by published author, Toby Strapp (A Short History of Kent Lamposts, 1956, oop).
And it is in fact a dramatic and finely-crafted introduction of PC Dick (the Sergeant Lewis character), contrasting the finer, ætherial things of life with his bluff greeting: ‘Why aye, then nah, nah, what’s all this abaht, then, me auld ducks?’ (language which many have said ‘rings with the authenticity of the common man’.)
I give this merely as an example. Who are you to pit your artistic talent against those of the Cottenham Writer’s Circle? I shall listen to tried and trusted friends, rather than someone who has already revealed they have no resonance whatsoever with my style and talent. I must make the assumption that your editorial experience has been limited to railway timetables, telephone directories and the occasional political pamphlet (of one of the less successful parties, I would guess).
Cobbler, stick to your last! For that is what you are, a cobbler. I have been told I may be assigned another editor if I wish, and that is what I am requesting of the publisher. Farewell pedant!
Colonel William Algernon Flowers (Author and Poet).
cc Ben Mortisham, Managing Director, Benwell Books.
This F’in Flowers guy!
Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! Get back to him using one of your other names, Major Sanders might do it. If he don’t come into line, I’ll bin him, OK?