Four Writers and an Editor Have Lunch

What happens, or at least what happened yesterday at a lunch of mostly retired journalists, is the telling of a lot of good stories.

The writers told the stories and the editor mostly listened, occasionally adding a comment or asking a question. It’s how we once did good journalism.


  1. Barnard Collier says

    Dear Jack,

    How is it that a “journalist” retires?

    I can understand how a good journalist may stop and enjoy an unleashed life without the corporate collar round the neck, but almost every good and now-dead writer I’ve known has scribbled to the last few seconds of vitality.

    Isaac Asimov, a piddling few of whose 7,560,000++ words I was privileged to edit, was once asked: “What if you knew you had only an hour to live?”

    His immediate reply:

    “I’d type faster.”

    And so it turned out to be.

    Fish swim, birds fly, writers write.

    Ben Franklin wrote some of his best prose in his early eighties.

    Mark Twain got moodier, darker, more displeased with mankind as he grew older, but he never retired.

    John Steinbeck was writing letters on his deathbed.

    Hunter Thompson tried to retire and failed.

    I suspect “journalists” retire but true writers won’t.

    Neither do true editors.



  2. Barney – Great comment. And often true but have to say I know writers–too many–who say if I don’t get paid I don’t write. – Jack

  3. Dear Jack,

    I believe that comes from Dr. Johnson’s injunction:

    “Only a blockhead writes for anything but money.”

    I do not mean to suggest that writers are not blockheads.

    Editors are the jury.


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