A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor. — Ring Lardner
Mount Shasta, March 25, 2004: This morning Adrienne told me she learned, in journalism classes, not to send a stamped, self-addressed envelope. She went on to say that beginners think their work is so precious that someone might steal it, but, she says, any thief could just make a xerox copy.
I had to argue, of course.
Thinking back to when I was writing stories, I reminded her that xerox copies didn’t even exist. The first I remember them was when Dave Harp taught Blues Harmonica for Musical Idiots in San Francisco, using a xeroxed lesson. (It was his technical innovation, and due to the high cost of fifteen cents a page, he wrote the lesson parts in little boxes, some sideways, so that an entire lesson would fit on one legal-sized sheet.)
Adrienne countered that you could just use carbon paper.
I argued that you couldn’t send the carbon copy, so if your story didn’t come back, you’d have to type it all out again. She said that didn’t matter, these days, with computers.
You see. Round and round. There is no purpose in arguing with a woman. And since you cannot win such a contest, why place a conflict between yourself and her majesty your darling? It won’t get you anything soft and wonderful.
But the point is … I remember carbon paper.
Anybody else here remember carbon paper?
If you can remember carbon paper, please raise your hand.
Oh, no wait. I can’t see your hand anyway, and later you could say you raised your hand and how would I know?
I’m just trying to be logical here.