July 29, 2014

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blogging...

I don’t often digress from TV-related matters on the blog – after all, there’s a reason why it’s called “It’s About TV!” instead of “It’s About Mitchell!” or “It’s About Everything!” or something like that.  But I’m going to make a small exception today, partly because I’ve wanted to and partly because I didn’t have anything else planned for today and I figured this might as well be the time.

From time to time I get emails from readers.  I’m immensely flattered by these – I think any writer feels that way when they realize someone’s actually reading what they write, and that they’ve chosen to make a personal contact that goes beyond simply commenting on a story I’ve written.

Now, if you’re one of those who’ve written me, you’ve probably noticed that sometimes it takes me a while to respond.  In fact, at times it takes long enough that you might be wondering (1) did my email go through?, or (2) what a jerk!  I take the time to write, and he doesn’t even reply!  While (1) is possible (although if it’s true, I’m afraid I can’t help out – after all, I didn’t get it), (2) is probably more likely – at least the jerk part.

The reason I bring this up now is this very good piece that Paul wrote over at Uniwatch* (page down a bit and you'll see it) on his experiences with a would-be editor who simply would not show him the common courtesy of replying to his communications, even to tell him that she was no longer interested in the story ideas.  My first reaction, as it was with many readers, was that the editor was showing an exceptional unprofessionalism.  Again, what a jerk!  But then, of course, the mirror turns, and I wonder how many people might have thought that about me?  Am I like that?  It’d like to think not, but still. . .

*One of the websites I mentioned in my recent Christmas in July contribution.

At times I can be notoriously slow in replying to emails.  I mean to, and then something comes up, and I forget about it for a bit, and when I find out I haven’t answered I’m mortified.  When I do reply, I almost always offer an apology and, when I can, an explanation for my tardiness.  Always, though, I make sure to point out that an explanation is not an excuse, and it’s entirely my fault for not having gotten back more quickly.  Someone who takes the time and effort to contact me (often with some very interesting information) deserves better than to be ignored for too long a time.

When I’ve become conscious about my deficiencies, I’ve tried to do better, and I’ll go through spells where I reply to emails within an hour or so of having checked my inbox.  Then, of course, my vigilance starts to flag a bit, and – well, we’re right back to where this starts.

So, consider this a blanket apology to any of you who’ve found yourself on the receiving end of my inactions.  I do sincerely appreciate it whenever you email me or leave a comment on a story I’ve done.  I don’t reply to every comment – sometimes there’s nothing more to add – but I do try and read them all.  And while I might not answer my emails quickly enough, I read those as well, and appreciate them.  If you’ve had a bad thought for me in the past, I don’t blame you, but I ask your forgiveness and indulgence and hope that it hasn’t kept you from reading the blog and enjoying the content, and if you’re so inclined I hope that you’ll continue to comment and to write me.

Around the end of August I’ll be offline for a week.  There are other times when I’ll be working on writing interests outside of the blog (I do have them, although for the most part they’ve yet to see the public light of day).  I’ve prepared material in advance to cover these times, so it’s probably that most of you won’t even notice when I’m not live.  But during those times my response time will be even slower than usual.  Call this a preemptive explanation if you will.

But for now, as this blog moves through its fourth year, I want to express once again my appreciation to those of you who take time out to read what I’ve written, as well as my fellow bloggers who’ve linked to this site.  (And yes, I’m still dumb enough that I can’t always tell when that’s happened, so if you’re waiting for an acknowledgement you might try an email letting me know, so I can properly ignore you instead.)

Anyway, thanks for your long-term indulgence.  We now return to regular programming.

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Keep those cards and letters coming in!