Sorry not quite

Moira Tynan was a freelance writer who was convinced that she deserved to be published in Women’s Story Magazine, because the stories she wrote were just the right length for that publication, and were all about women’s problems. (Men are women’s problems, that was her attitude.)

She sent them in under a pseudonym, Kathy Greenback, and they remained at Women’s Story Magazine for about three months, and then someone called Tess Ryder sent them back again, with a curt little note. Sometimes, the note said that the story was too long, or too descriptive, or too conversational, or even too violent. But usually the note said that Kathy Greenback’s stories were too unlikely, and indeed, once the note said that Kathy Greenback would write better stories if she got out more and saw a bit more of life.

Moira Tynan grew to have a truly terrible hatred of this Tess Ryder who kept rejecting her stories. Tess Ryder was all that stood between her and publication. Tess Ryder stopped her from being recognised. Therefore, Tess Ryder had to go.

One day, Moira Tynan turned up at Solar Publishing House, where Women’s Story Magazine was one of the 230 magazines published, and asked to see Tess Ryder. She said her name was Kathy Greenback. When they rang up to Tess Ryder to ask if she wanted to see Kathy Greenback, Tess thought that they had said “Ally Greenburg”, which was the name of a friend of hers, and said yes. So Moira Tynan, aka Kathy Greenback, went up to Tess Ryder’s office and shot her, then walked out of the building.

They never caught her. She had left no clue behind, only a pseudonym. So she was emboldened to write a story about a woman writer who is so embittered by constant rejection that she shoots dead the editor responsible, and she sent it to another magazine called Female Fiction Monthly. The literary editor sent it back with a note saying that it was highly implausible and that Kathy Greenback should get out more and write about real things.

“She shouldn’t have said that,” thought Moira, repacking her gun.

Moral: Women’s problems are not all caused by men.

(Miles Kington – Wednesday, 30 April 2003)

Permission to print (reproduce in electronic format) applied for and (as The Independent ignored my e-mail assumed to be) given.

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