Failed apology

sorryThis little blog is a one-woman shop.

Maybe you know that.

There is no Bikini Wax Chronicles org chart. No HR department. No mission statement. Well there is a Statement of Purpose in that little little black bar up top, but that’s mostly for fun.

This space is just me.  My heart to your heart. That’s the idea.

No bureaucratic hoops, no review committees. Had far too much of that at earlier stages of my life. One time an editor at a major publishing house wanted to buy one of novels, but “couldn’t get it past the marketing department”. Shouldn’t marketing work for editorial, not the other way around??

But since the (unpaid) staff consists of me, myself, and I, that also creates openings for misunderstandings. One of those lately, in last week’s post, It’s Not About the dog Food,  which was about my inability to apologize for a moment of weakness while my sister was dying.

Nancy got back to me about that story: and said, essentially too bad you couldn’t gin up the courage to actually apologize. “I couldn’t apologize,” I said, “the right guy was never at the front desk. THAT’S what the story was about.”


Which meant of course I’d failed not only to apologize, but to tell the story I wanted to. I reread the post with her idea in mind sorryand her reading of it made far more sense than my intended meaning.

Good writing allows the reader to connect the dots, but if the gap between the dots is so great the connections go awry, then the picture–story–is completely different than you hope for.

Once a reader wrote that she was going to “pass on” a post.  I took that to mean “pass on”, as in to forego it. Actually she meant she was going to forward it on to others.

Same words. Opposite meaning.

So I decided to actually go into the SPCA on Fillmore and ask about for the fellow I needed to apologize to. I had burst into tears trying at the bureaucracy involved in buying dog food.

“Hmm,” said the woman at the counter, as she conferred with the bearded man at the desk next to her.  “You say last summer?”

“Probably June, or early July. Afternoon. My sister was dying, the fellow was really kind to me.”

“We don’t have so many men working here…..would’ve been Joe or Henry, I think. But they’ve both moved on. I’m glad he was nice to you.”

sorryI am a coward about many things, but not this one.

And the even more elemental meaning about the interaction still hold true. Sometimes you simply cannot apologize directly; all you can do is try your best going forward.

And be compassionate to others. We’re all doing the best we can…and if someone is having a really bad day….well, maybe her sister is dying.


About Karen Ray

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