Email to the NY Times Public Editor

Dear Mr. Hoyt,

Thank you for considering my One Stinking Dollar piece for publication in the Times Magazine. I’m thrilled. And a bit impressed — I think justifiably — with myself.

I mean the New York Times Magazine?? Very glossy.

It occurs to me that your interest in my work could open doors for me, as a working writer, even if I don’t make the Magazine’s final cut. For example, I very much want to spend time in New Orleans in the near future to put together an article — I’m not sure for whom: any ideas? — on the unique plight of the homeless in that city. I’ve also considered forwarding One Stinking Dollar to the Valley Advocate — our local left-leaning free weekly (western Massachusetts’ somewhat muted answer to the Voice) — for whom the article was originally intended. Let them know, in hopes of piquing their interest, that the piece is on your desk as we speak.

Not that I want to deprive you of the story. The NY Times Magazine has dibs — and if you choose to run it I’ll be tremendously pleased. Still, I have plainly urgent needs of my own to consider. I must pay some rent. I’ve been homeless for 3+ years. I take a hard look at myself every single day and try to figure out how to improve my oft-desperate situation. How will I get a place to live? The only seemingly viable solution I’ve ever been able to concoct is to write my way out of this thing.

So your consideration of One Stinking Dollar for the Magazine is splendidly good news! I feel validated & relieved. Alas, high as it makes me feel, your interest in my stuff does not address my overwhelmingly immediate needs. I must sell a story so I can get a place to call home and make my life human again. It is such an incontestable priority that — if the Advocate wants to buy One Stinking Dollar — I will have no choice.

That said, I obviously don’t want to spurn you & the NY Times Magazine. Should I go the Advocate route, I will happily offer up another submission for the “Lives We Lived” edition. My years spent homeless have been, if nothing else, a colorfully storied affair. So I surely can produce some different material that may fit the Magazine’s needs.

On the other hand, there are plenty of other aspects to the homeless predicament that I could cover for the Advocate as well. Given the choice I’ll mightily prefer to write other stuff for them and leave One Stinking Dollar on your desk — where I happen to think it richly deserves to be.

But in order to do that — there’s no way to mince these words — I need money.

All things considered my by-far best case scenario is for the Magazine to pay something up front to retain rights to One Stinking Dollar. Am I out of line for asking? I’ve no way to know since I’ve never negotiated with a potential publisher before. But it seems to me that if you’re leaning toward printing the thing then buying the rights may be the best case scenario for you guys as well.

Well that’s all for now. I thank you dearly for your time — and for the sublime personal lift this whole scenario has given me.

Best Wishes,
Mike E

Cc: Valley Advocate


2 Responses to “Email to the NY Times Public Editor”

  1. 1 Chris Moran January 31, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Chris Moran

  2. 2 Bradford February 3, 2008 at 7:47 am

    When this all comes to fruition, and not before, could you possibly lend me one stinking dollar? I’ll paste it to my bumper and travel at least 50 miles per hour over the posted limit. Scouts honor.

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