Pride and Prejudice - The STORY GRID edition - Annotated by SHAWN COYNE

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What It Takes

What It Takes

The Road Not Taken

By Callie Oettinger | Published: December 29, 2017

Exit the main streets of Washington, D.C., and you’ll find yourself driving through narrow chutes lined with parked cars, wishing your ride was a Mini Cooper.

The same situation plays out in cities around the world, where buildings were constructed, and inner-city neighborhoods established, long before the rise of the automobile.

A few weeks back, my mother visited Washington, D.C. She found herself near Eastern Market, behind a delivery truck on one of those narrow, one-way roads. Just before the intersection, the truck pulled tight to the right and stopped for a delivery. This left Mom with three options: 1) hold her breath and try to squeeze between the truck and the parked car on the left side of the street; 2) back up and turn down the alley she’d just passed; or 3) wait for the truck to finish its delivery and then move forward.

She eyeballed the open space and decided to keep her side-view mirrors. She looked in her rearview mirror and saw an SUV pulling up and blocking the exit to the alley. She stared at the delivery truck driver and the number of packages on his dolley, and settled on waiting for his return.

The SUV driver had something different in mind.

(more…)

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What It Takes

What It Takes

Making Connections

By Shawn Coyne | Published: December 22, 2017

So it’s the mid-1980s and as young men do, Malcolm Gladwell and his friend Jacob Weisberg throw a lot of parties at their Washington D.C. rental on Adams Mill Road and Kenyon Street.

At one such low rent Bacchanalia, Gladwell shoots the breeze with Jefferson Morley, an assistant editor and one of the supervisors along with Michael Kinsley and Dorothy Wickenden of the bright young politico Weisberg at The New Republic.

Gladwell brings up a story Morley wrote for the July 9 1984 edition called “Double Reverse Discrimination.”

In The Washingtonian “Gladwell’s Brain” profile by Chris Wilson on January 8, 2007, Morley recalls:

I remember Malcolm questioning me closely both about the sociology and the ethics of the story.

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What It Takes

What It Takes

My Secret

By Callie Oettinger | Published: December 15, 2017

(I read “this is stupid,” a post by Wil Wheaton, this week. I felt his pain. It reminded me of where I was last year when I wrote the article below. If you’re out there reading this, and think that the rest of us have “it” together, that we’re enjoying every bit of our work, that it all comes with ease, you’re wrong. It’s hard. It’s tiring. Often, all I want to do is head to the beach. But . . . Not even Kahuna stayed on the beach year round. He headed to work like the rest of us, and I’m pretty sure that the tough work made the summer waves that much more enjoyable. Some days the stuff we love comes to us like Ruth Stone’s train, but there are a lot of “this is stupid” days in between. Whether its a train day or a stupid day, we’re better for having both.  ~C)

When it was my publishing house’s turn to present its Fall/Winter line of books, I was introduced as the senior editor. One of the quick-witted sales reps quipped, “If she’s the senior editor, how old is the junior editor?”

I was 22 years old, attending — and presenting — at my first sales conference, and not yet a full year into being an editor.

My first job out of college was as a junior editor for a small publishing house in Florida. Within a few months, my boss said goodbye to the senior editor and I was promoted. This was a mom and pop operation, so I went from editing sales copy, sending manuscript rejection letters, and answering the phone, to acquiring and editing manuscripts, packaging books, writing marketing materials, negotiating author and vendor contracts, managing relationships with authors and vendors, and developing and implementing publicity campaigns — while still editing sales copy, sending manuscript rejection letters, and answering the phone.

No training.

Lots of time alone in the office, operating on instinct and a prayer.

It ended up being two and a half years of shooting the rapids, of going solo, of working from the gut.

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