How to answer…


She calls to pitch a story and somehow ends up at my desk. Her voice speaks of age, and there’s a slightly querulous note to it that reminds me of the elderly woman who accused me of stealing her toilet paper years ago. Just a tone of voice but my stomach clinches.

“Who is this?” she asks. I think she was expecting someone else.

“Well, Heather, would you like to write a good story and not all that robbery and violence and burglary you usually write about?”

Now how do you answer an accusation phrased as question like that? What layer do you respond to? The story tip? The all-you-do-is-write-bad-news accusation that is patently untrue? (Yesterday’s front page story, anyone?)

You have to hear her out, so I grab a pen to scratch notes. She goes on to tell her story, and I promise to see what I can do — my favorite way to respond to uncertain story tips.

“You stay warm,” I tell her and she says the same.

” ‘Bye, buddy,” she ends, ” ‘Love ya’,” and I’m bewildered.

A two minute conversation that starts with “Who is this?” and ends with”buddy” and  ” love ya.” Not exactly an everyday sort of call to end up at my desk on a Thursday morning!

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2 Comments

Filed under Notebook sketches

2 responses to “How to answer…

  1. I am catching up here – I love your writing, love reading about your life. You really should come to Charleston. We are warmer here, and we’d so enjoy the company. 🙂

  2. Thanks! And I would love to visit Charleston… there’s just this little issue of no vacation time…

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