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Assisi & Brannan #5: The Problem With Reading Your Own Story

Feb 25, 2014

Reading your own words in print should be an exhilarating occasion. There used to be a phrase in Hong Kong, when I was growing up, “Let’s be happy together.” “Happy” was the only English word in the Chinese sentence. I am not happy now. Not one little bit.

The headline reads, “Local Woman Missing after Party.” This is true, but it isn’t my headline. Bruce had accepted the article, but rewrote the headline after I had left. Now, what was wrong with mine, “Mother of Two Disappears”?

I get along fine with Bruce. For one, I’m the only employee in the BAR office. The thing that drives me crazy is that he doesn’t trust me.

“He is the editor of the paper,” Sam said sagely as I ranted to him that Bruce had ripped my first article to shreds.

Every other word had been changed. Sure, it burned a hole through my stomach because the story was much better after the bloodletting. Was I going to admit it?  Hell, no. I wanted to pull my byline, but by the time I realized it, the story already had been printed.

“Listen, you’re right out of school. He’s been doing this for a while. Like 10 years?” Sam pointed this out to me after I wouldn’t stop ranting.

“What the fuck does that have to do with anything?!” I was furious.

He didn’t even pause. “Because it’s a better article.”

My jaw dropped. Cocky, confident rich boy had said the one thing that I could not take. Rage filled my brain, flight instincts soared.

“I didn’t ask for your opinion! He didn’t even go to journalism school. Don’t ever tell me what I can’t do! And shut up! Just shut up!” I screamed.

That was three months ago.

Things have never been quite the same between Sam and me again.

© Jocelyn Uma 2014. All Rights Reserved.