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  • Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

Cruel Flashbacks

I have an app on my Kindle Fire tablet that gives me free books that are usually worth what I pay for them, nothing. But there are a few interesting books worth reading tucked into the other freebies; and I found one true story that was so entertaining that I wrote a nice comment in the "Before You Go" write a review section. The book was written by a carefree professional adventurer who was somewhat sexist, as was the mid-twentieth century setting of his book. I was surprised when he contacted me, thanked me for my review, and asked if I would edit his next book. I was interesting in the topic and I casually said yes. When I received the beta copy of his new book, I spend about six hours editing it, and I wrote constructive criticism and praise as I went through his B+ level work. He was appreciative when he got my four pages of edits, and said he was using all of my suggestions. He did not offer to pay me, nor gift me other than sending me some old newspapers from a special interest group in which we both had an interest. When a year later he asked me to edit his next book, again without any offer of payment for my work which was worth a thousand dollars or two, I ignored his request, and avoided any contact with him. He had gotten flirty, and after over half a century of flirty, married men, I have no patience for even one minute more of those annoying interactions. Then yesterday I got another package from him, it was more copies of his book and one of them is a reprint of the book I edited, with a large Bronze Award from some book club embossed on it. I was beside myself with jealously, but I knew what to do. I added the books to my to-go pile of errands, and whisked them out to the car. My first stop was at my doctor's office, so I was able to get rid of the two books and my jealously by gifting them to the two receptionists. Since those young ladies spend their work days sitting behind the reception desk they were happy to receive the bright, new books, and I was happy to have turned the books into a happy experience.

That evening I did still have trouble subduing my flashbacks over my own quite different experiences as an author. Instead of a bonze metal award, gatekeeping men in the publishing industry treated me with intentional cruelty. I do not want to go on about it, but several incidents kept welling up in my mind and distracting me from my habitual contentment.

In the mid-twentieth century, when I submitted a copy of my poem, Evening Fields In My Parents Backyard With Their Labrador Lady to the Columbus Dispatch newspaper poetry section, the editor telephoned me, and sounding breathless with admiration, asked to speak to the author, A. Throckmorton. I sensed that he knew the author was a woman (which I had tried to conceal by shortening my first name to "A.") and that he had planned what he would do when the woman revealed herself. "I am the author." I said hoping that this would turn out well. He gave a startled gasp, groaned as if he had stepped in fecal matter, and hung up on me. I have very few positive submission experiences with which to counteract this unpleasant memory, and I spent my evening trying to distract myself from flashbacks, and my residual jealousy. I have already complained of this cruel trick in my post to this blog of 04-12-18, so please pardon my flashback. I suppose one of the reasons that I became a technical writer instead of seeking professional work in the field of literature was because I received so many submission rejections that seemed to be based on my sex rather than on my ability to write.

But today is a new day, pleasant, relaxed, and raining gently. I do not want to go on about the flashbacks. They may come back, but I am old, and I want to forget about that sadness and anger, and be happy today.

Caption: Cruel Flashbacks

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2019

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