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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
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Sunday, 30 August 2015

Pennsylvania: the job market

Working in publishing in the USA between 1966 and 1972 I wrote regularly to my mother.

August 17, 1966. M, editorial director with my then employer, leaves to launch his own magazine; wants me to join him:

□ M approaches me, saying that the secretary and editorial assistant have agreed to join him, and that he is prepared to pay me $8000 (my present salary is $6600). I say I'll think about it

I decide not to go.

That evening M rings up and I tell him. M says he thinks I am a better editor than L (the present editor he tried to poach) and that he will offer me $10,500. I hedge.

I ring L and he laughs: "Hold him off until tomorrow and it'll probably be up to $15,000."□

For reasons I now forget I turn M down. Had all this not happened the big news would have been I'd got myself a car:

□ ... a 1963 Volvo 122S... twin carburettors... radiator blind.... two speed wipers... white-wall tyres (!)...  Nobody at the office can understand why I chose the car although all admit it looks well.□

My mother wants to know what I’d like for my birthday:

□ I’d like something swankily English but can’t think what. Yes I know: a new pocket address book with leather back... The basic article is fairly cheap so it should be possible to have a totally luxurious one, one of the sort I could never afford if I were buying it for myself. Don’t hurry – it must ooze quality.□

The end of the letter is characteristic:

□ Time to stop now - it's the Pirates vs the NY Mets on TV and the Pirates are still heading the National League.□


  1. I'm curiuous about the "reasons you now forget" for turning down M's offer.

  2. Natalie: Better book a flight to Pittsburgh, then. I thought I'd made myself clear.

  3. But was M's mag a success? Or did you have the satisfaction of your refusal?

  4. Avus: M prospered but without me and died in Florida aged 90. But M was also the mischievous instrument that led me through some tempting hoops. More to come if I can crop the appropriate letter down to 300 words.

  5. was that the Volvo with the round back? Stick shift? C'mon, Pittsburgh ain't that bad! Hey, how about them Blue Jays? :)

  6. Stella: A photo follows. It had stick shift but not the round back - that was I think the Amazon. I wasn't knocking Pittsburgh, I loved it. The Blue Jays exist not in my pantheon.