An Unfinished Story

May 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

A young writer who admired a great editor purchased the final volume of a journal that the great man had edited. The young writer read the journal cover to cover. One story—a page, exactly—seemed out of place, both within the larger context of the journal and even, somehow, within itself. It seemed unfinished.

The young writer, satisfied with the rest of the work in the journal, turned to this unfinished story again and again. Finally he thought he understood what the great man saw that caused him to select the story, and it became his favourite piece in the journal.

Years later, the young writer, now established, met the editor at a function. The editor went out of his way to congratulate the young writer on his latest book. The young writer mentioned the story, saying that it had been a great influence, that it had directed his writing.

“Oh—yes,” said the editor, annoyed. “I remember that story. We cut it, but a single page made into the final printing. It’s bothered me all these years.”

Embarrassed, the young writer made an excuse and left.

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