Thank you for agreeing to remove my essay from your website. I hope you won’t take what I’m writing as an attack on you personally, which isn’t my intention. However, I don’t understand why your copy editor altered my essay in the first place. I wonder why your copy editor felt the need to make even a single change, let alone at least five of them. I found out about these changes while reading the print copy of this month’s ________ issue. It states quite plainly that my essay previously aired on the radio – and as such is a reprint. Was something unclear or missing in the original? Or does your copy editor simply have no other way of occupying his or her time but by imposing unnecessary modifications on all submitted prose? The essay I presented to you was about four-hundred words long – similar in length to what I’m now writing. Before this essay aired on the radio, each word was carefully vetted by the radio show’s two producers. Together, the producers and I deliberated three different endings. Four recordings were made. And then along comes your semi-literate copy editor and decides to make at least five changes to my essay, with no one at your paper bothering to ask what I thought. My impulse has been to try to share my writing with the Jews in the area where I live through their communal newspaper. But after years of repeated disappointments, I have to conclude that this is a mistaken impulse, and that I ought to stop striving to reach ________’s Jewish community through ________. I appreciate the encouragement and (non-monetary) support you’ve given to some of my projects over the years, but I’m tired of copy editors at your paper trying to justify their salaries or maintain their self-esteem by pointlessly tampering with my material. Their meddling has resulted in gross inaccuracies, in grammatical errors, in ugly or incoherent sentences, and in a waste of my (and your) time. It seems unlikely I’m the only one whose writing is being marred by ________’s copy editors, though maybe I’m the only one acutely troubled by the results. I say there’s something deeply amiss in how your copy editors see their roles. They have wholly misplaced conceptions of their own skills and abilities. I’m writing this as much to myself as to you, the better to remember – when I may again have the thought of sending a piece along to ________ – that I must absolutely avoid that impulse. It’s not worth the headache. I'm done with ________. Shabbat shalom and happy Hanukah.
Dear editor of the local Jewish newspaper – an epistolary poem
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