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The Willing Direction

BY John Blase Journal
BY Alex Via

By day I work in the publishing world. I edit books, which can mean a number of things but can be boiled down to this: I take a rough manuscript and make it smooth. There are days this is satisfying work. And there are days it is a job. As you might expect, every manuscript is tied to an author, the originator of the words. Of those authors who are men, I have learned they will lean in one of two directions. They will be 1) a go-getter-author, willing to do almost anything to ensure crossing the finish line, or they’ll be 2) a kept-author; it takes an act of congress to get them to do most of what’s needed to complete the book. Those kept-authors, as the name suggests, are sorta fragile, and interactions with them always carry the feel of navigating a minefield. If you’re thinking of the word entitled - yep, bingo.

One author I worked with did a great deal of speaking as well as writing. It was a well-known fact in our circles that he demanded his hotel room be kept at a temperature of 66F, no variation, and that it would be restocked twice daily with fresh fruit and Perrier. The one time this requirement was not met, he lost his marbles, went totally beserker on the hotel staff first, and then even more beserker on his publishing team. I’d never seen behavior like that in my life, and truly hope I never see it again. If you’re thinking of the word embarrassing – yep, bingo. 

The more I’ve thought about those two author-leanings, the more I think those are applicable to all men. You’re either willing to grab a shovel and help dig the latrine, or you’re quite content to stand there as someone else digs it, then quickly piss in it. Now sure, if you can convince your buddies to paint the fence for you like old Tom Sawyer, then do it. But there’s a difference between being a kept-man and being a clever-man, and it has to do with willingness. Tom Sawyer was willing to do the work if he had to, he just figured out a way he didn’t have to. The kept-man is simply unwilling, and that unwillingness translates into a holier-than-the-rest-of-us attitude that benefits no one in the climate-controlled-sparkling-watered room, most importantly that man. If you’re thinking of the phrase good for nothing – yep, bingo.



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