I didn't go to school to become a writer. I did it by writing a piece for a professional journal for paramedics in 1989, and it sort of took off from there. Along the way, I was guided by an editor at the magazine that taught me by simply taking my articles, and pointing out what had to be changed and why. With each succeeding article I got better and better, and learned my craft the old fashioned way; I just did it.
Of course, she could be brutal at times, and this earned her the nickname of "The Chainsaw," among the rest of us that wrote for the magazine. She could be merciless on articles when needed. I remember one particular time when I submitted a book review on a non-fiction novel about life as a NYC paramedic, and promptly tore the book to shreds in the review. Barbara called me up and said that she loved the piece, but, she couldn't print it.
"Why?" I inquired, somewhat devastated. I was so very proud of the piece, especially as it came out of a stream of consciousness, one of the first times I had ever done that while writing.
"Well, it's very good, but it borders on libel." she explained.
"Oh." I said, realizing that maybe I went just a tad too far in my criticism of that piece of shit that was passing for a "real look at the life of a NYC paramedic," an opinion I hold to this day.
So, she kept the good bits and in true chainsaw fashion, made it more palatable to the legal department at the magazine. I still felt as though I had my heart torn out, but I understood the reasons why.
So today, I came across the feline above , and thought to myself, "This was probably the kind of cat Barbara had." Yeah. Editor Kitteh.