Saturday, May 2, 2009

Letters to Obama and E-Mails to An Editor

We received our first shipment of the Letters To Obama book this week. It was so exciting to see Sarah open a box of books that contained her writing; we are incredibly proud of her.

I don't know if I ever explained how she came to even be in the book; if I did, please bear with me as I re-explain.

David Tabatsky, the editor I worked with for my Chicken Soup article, e-mailed me earlier in the year and said, "My colleague and I are putting together a book of letters from children to the President; it's going to press in a couple of days but if Sarah can get something to me tonight, we would love for her to be included."

Well, let me just say that Sarah jumped at the chance and dived into super intense writing mode; by 9 pm, her letter was finished and e-mailed to David. He wrote the next day and said how much he loved it. Since there were 1,000 submissions and only 179 made it into the book, Sarah was extra honored to get his special invitation.

If you go to the following link, you'll find a heartwarming story about some of the other children involved in the the book.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-kluger/a-proud-day-in-lincoln-ne_b_191611.html


As happy as our family is about this whole project, there has been one small glitch. When I started glancing through the book, I discovered that the entire last paragraph of Sarah's letter had been left out!

I gaped! I gasped! I was taken aback! I asked myself in a distinctly discombobulated way, "WHERE did the paragraph go?"

I immediately sat down and e-mailed David, thanking him again for inviting Sarah to be involved and then very nicely letting him know that an important part of her letter was missing.

The next day I received an e-mail from Bruce, David's co-editor. In essence his letter said that while he couldn't put his hands on Sarah's letter right at that minute, the deletion of the paragraph was not a mistake. He said that he and David had discussed it at some length and had jointly made the decision to leave it out.

WHAT??!!?

Well, don't you know that my momma hackles raised right up and I immediately prepared myself to jump on a plane to New York City and personally bang David and Bruce's heads together. In the nicest possible way, of course.

However, I am not a veteran minister's wife for nothing. If I've learned nothing else in twenty-seven years of trodding the pastoral pathway, I have learned the art of diplomacy and tact.

And so I composed a lovely e-mail to Bruce to express my "concerns." (Don't you love that word?) I thanked him for involving Sarah in the project, I complimented his work on the book--and I truly meant every word of it! He and David did an outstanding job.

And then I went on to say that I was curious as to why he and David would omit the most poignant, meaningful part of Sarah's letter. I said that the letter now ended awkwardly and the edit, in simple terms, just did not work. (And since he couldn't put his hands on her letter, I included the original letter in the e-mail.)

And then I took a deep breath. And waited. With hackles still slightly raised.

Only a couple hours passed before I received a return e-mail from Bruce. He was appalled but thankfully, not at me. He was appalled at himself and David.

He said that he had gotten Sarah's letter mixed up in his head with another child's letter (which they DID have to edit, for whatever reason). He agreed with me that the (inadvertent) edit done on Sarah's letter was awful and he apologized profusely that the paragraph had been left off. He said that in the hurry to include her letter at the last minute, the last paragraph must have been accidentally chopped off in the typesetting process.

He went on to say that although the book is not yet being printed on a large scale, they may very well be headed in that direction soon. If so, he promised the change would be made to her letter and that he would send us some free books in apology.

Sigh.

At least it was nice to know that they hadn't done it on purpose. You can probably imagine how puzzled I was after being told that they had discussed her last paragraph and made the decision to leave it off. I just couldn't quite wrap my mind around the fact that her little sweet paragraph was somehow inappropriate.

Anyway, if you order one of the books through us, I am going to print out and include the last paragraph of her letter, just because you folks are special and need to see the whole thing!

So that's the story! And as I mentioned, the first order of books is in and the second order is on the way. Info about how to order the Letters to Obama book can be found in the right column.

2 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Debbie Jean said...

Wow, I am glad that you got that straightened out!!! I know that you must be so proud of Sarah. Heck, we all are!! I hope to one day be able to afford the book, to add to my Chicken Soup one. What a great Mom you are!!

God Bless~

Debbie Jean

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