Wednesday, November 13, 2002

November 13, 2002
Strong day in office yesterday. Finally finished first draft of Dalton Raid on Coffeyville (seven pages!). Spent most of the late afternoon pruning it to fit in five pages. Good exercise, because it forces you to study every line for content. Does each paragraph and sentence propel the narrative to the goal, or is it superfluous? If only some of our freelancers would do this. A few of our older writers (okay, it’s one and he lives in Tombstone) refuse to write for us anymore because we have the gall to edit their precious words. When I interviewed Mrs. Joe Small (the founder’s wife), she told me the magazine started to lose readers when “the footnote crowd took over.” And speaking of the footnote crowd, Jim Dullenty, a former editor in the early eighties, has sent me two different letters demanding a retraction and clarification on dubious sources. He primarily attacks the Doc Holliday issue (November-December, 2001) where we cited a newspaper article that supposedly told of Doc Holliday’s final days. The source looks increasingly suspicious but we are waiting for clarification. I intend to run part of Jim’s letter (it’s too long, see above), in an upcoming letters to the editor.
We are also working on a feature called “True West Comes Clean,” wherein we will own up to all of the goofs, gaffs and outright cons we have published in the past fifty years (except for the Jim Dullenty years, which were perfect). We will deal with this alleged bogus Doc source there, among other egregious crimes, no doubt worthy of a firing squad.

Went to lunch with Jana, Robert, Gus and Meghan at Satisfied Frog ($15 cash). Afterwards, I drove by Clantonville (our old office). Lots of memories, mostly bad. Glad we’re out of there.

Met Kathy at five and we went down to Pei Wei for dinner ($17 cash), then over to Target to get a new VCR ($97 Sue debit) so I could watch the sneak preview of Tom Selleck’s new Western, Monte Walsh (TNT sent us an advance copy). Then got groceries at Bashas’ ($98 house account), came home, hooked up the new VCR and watched the movie. Took notes (it was cool to be seeing this before anyone else, but ultimately it felt like I was doing homework). It’s going to run on TNT in January. It’s a remake (Lee Marvin and Jack Palance were in the original). Funny line: William Devane introduces the corporate bean counter to his cowboys (Selleck and Keith Carradine) and tells them the dude is out West for two weeks to learn “cowboyin’”. Carradine’s character quips dryly, “What’s he gonna do the second week?”

The easiest thing for a reader to do, is stop reading.”
—Some dead editor, I think for the Washington Times

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