Some of you might know that I'm an Assistant Editor for The Dark Man (TDM), the Journal of Robert E. Howard studies. Since I'm still swamped with work, and I apologise to all whose blogs I haven't been able to visit and whose names I've not yet had time to add to my links, I thought I would run for you today an editorial I wrote for the first issue of TDM after I became an editor. I'll let it speak for itself.
I’m a writer, the natural prey of those nasty creatures we call editors. So how come I’m suddenly listed as an assistant editor for The Dark Man? How did I end up joining the ranks of my traditional enemies? I assure you that it isn’t my fault. I was trapped, I tell you, and it was one of those big traps, a bear trap. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to call it a “Bearfield” trap.
As a member of The Dark Man review board, I thought my only duties would be to lend my name to the enterprise-—a name well known to almost half a dozen readers-—and to occasionally comment on the various pieces that crossed my electronic desk. I never thought I’d be involved in “whipping” a piece into shape the way that I’ve had editors whip my own work into something marginally less confused than what I’d submitted.
Then along came a submission to The Dark Man on the subject of Pike Bearfield, Robert E. Howard’s “other” comic western hero, and it was a piece I liked very much and which I fought to see included in the Journal. Ah, the price of shooting one’s mouth off.
I somehow got asked to shepherd the aforementioned Bearfield essay through the revision process and into print. Trapped! And it was neatly done, I do have to agree. (I’d suggest that I was hoist with my own petard but that sounds kind of dirty.) To avoid being skinned alive and called luggage, I accepted the role thrust upon me by my "Dark Man" colleagues, and that is how I came to be...an editor.
But, shhh! I haven’t told any of my writer friends yet that I’m now aligned with the enemy. They wouldn’t be happy if they found out, and you know how cruel writers can be. I’m sure my friends know plenty of hurtful ways to call me a traitor and a sell out. They might use words like Judas, Benedict Arnold, Quisling, or maybe even Metallica.
So let's just keep this between us.