top of page

Not smart enough to do it

Thursday 2/2/23

Email that came in from Tim Schaffner. I know all the moves that a guy like this is going to try to do. It won't work. Note how he now does the Dear First Name Last Name thing. He's trying to be formal. Like this was all on the up and up. Clean. Orderly. Well-intentioned.

They default to that cod-legalese, because they tried to get away with something, and they were busted. Now it's out in the open. They're trying to be retroactively "proper" for the court of public opinion. Doesn't work. You see how he starts the victim-blaming right in the first sentence? It must be my fault. It could only be my fault. No one is buying.

Dear Colin Fleming;

I feel as though you must have misunderstood my note, meant simply to say that essay collections are a tough sell in today’s market. It was not meant to imply that your essays are tough to sell, or to make any judgment on your work; I feel as though you took my

comments personally, and I regret having caused you such anger—that was not my

intent. We try to keep direct and open communications with prospective writers who come to us with their work for consideration. Sadly a reaction such as yours here will make it harder for us to continue this policy.


Tim Schaffner

This was my response. Again, it's just not going to work. You don't have a willing victim here, you don't have an angry guy, you don't have someone on your mental level, you don't have an easy mark. You have someone who knows, who is pure cognition, who is not going to allow anger to enter into any interaction or part of the process of getting to where he is going.

Victim blaming isn't going to work, sir. And nor did I have any anger, which is clear, unless someone is trying to walk something back and reshape a narrative, as you are. You were revealed for what you are. That moves me not a jot one way or the other. It's just something to be dealt with, and it was. Nor did I take anything personally, as is also scrupulously plain. That's you trying to warp something your way, after the fact. You fool no one. And I'd say the sniffling, sniveling bit of additional victim-blaming as your closing line is above you, but--equally sadly--we both know it is not.

The implication in saying "you took this personally" is that you've misunderstood what has actually happened; that is to say, reality. Emotion and insecurity have prevailed. Blinded you and put you in the wrong. It's sort of like people who do something bad, then "apologize" by saying, "I'm sorry if you were upset." It's an attempted shift away from them, to you. Blame-wise.

One would really be doing that with the wrong person here. There is too much control, discipline, compartmentalization, experience, "training," if you will, cognition, and focus. Yes, it impacts me personally, and someone like this is doing it because of how they personally view me. That's different from taking something personally; the latter phrase implies that one can't see what is what.

Anyway. I have been writing all morning. The formal work. Yes, it's all done while this goes on. Mental discipline. But now I shall run some stairs.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page