Friday, September 16, 2016

Who Stared the Fire?

It is possible I burned a bridge. Or maybe, it was burned by someone else while I stood upon it. I'm still not entirely clear how that went down or if it ought to have been handled differently. For the record, if I set fire to the bridge, it was with a couple of phone calls and a follow up letter. It wasn't certified. It was just mailed.

But, in short, the issue was this: I had a person who shall remain nameless who I believed I could trust. Over the course of our relationship, little snippets of key detail would be missing - things like 'awaiting instruction from author before this deadlined event can occur.' At first, I could put it down to my lack of knowledge - I mean I was a publishing newbie. For the person in question, it was old hat. Could it be a simple case of assuming I knew more than I did? Possibly. But it kept happening. And then, at a conference, another person who shall remain nameless stopped me in a corridor and said, "You know I'm waiting on a book from you?"

My eloquent, nonverbal response looked like this:

She nodded. "I suspected that message never reached you." I found my voice then with a shrill, "OMFG." I did not use the acronym.

Trust broken. Bridge afire. No clue who lit the match.

Do I regret the fire? Some days I do, because I strongly suspect the relationship with person 1 is no longer salvageable. Good, maybe? Who's to say. I hear it said that hindsight is 20/20, but frankly, I am still squinting through the smoke on this one. I'm no clearer now than I was when the bridge went up in flames. But I do know this. A relationship is only as good as the communication within it. At the very least, person 1 and I had a major communication dysfunction that ended up crossing my tolerance threshold. (Person 2 got the book she was waiting for.) I severed the relationship with person 1.

So peer through the bridge-burning smoke as tell me. From your perspective, who started the fire?


  1. I still think you made the right decision, fwiw.

    1. You were a tremendous advocate through out that whole maddening episode and I thank you.