A case in point is the dilemma I found when Dorothy Holman showed up at our place with a collection of old photos, a country atlas and assorted details about a lot of things.
"Aha," I said to myself, "that's the kind of material I've been searching for."
So I took the old pictures and talked with her for a little while – and promptly put all her stuff in a pile of "things to do" with other story possibilities.
"Your filing system is outrageous," Phyllis said to me, ever so wifely. "You'll never amount to anything if you don't keep better track of things."
There's the dilemma! I have too many subjects I want to write about that every now and then slip through the cracks – or get lost in the mess I've created.
That's what happened to Mrs. Holman's material. I didn't follow through on it, and I forgot what she told me. When she wanted her photos back, I couldn't find them, and we (Phyllis and I) literally turned the house upside down looking for them.
Phyllis finally located the lost photos in "my mess," and the dilemma was solved. But the truth of the matter is that I have learned a lesson.
Never take on something that you do not intend to do NOW!
Another thing is I don't always say in my published works just where I got the illustrations and facts from. This is obvious because Phyllis often gets phone calls from out of the blue asking if I still have the photo on Page 59 of some book that has my name on it.
Then we go to Page 59 and locate the picture, and she says to me: "Where did you get it?"
I answer: "I don't know!" because it was 47 years ago that I originally wrote the stuff. My memory is not that good.
She then goes back to the phone to do her ah-er-uh bit, all because I didn't identify the source.
The moral of these isolated cases is: Don't put off till tomorrow what you should do today, and be sure to say where you got the illustrative material and the facts from.
We learned that in journalism school a long time ago, but apparently forgot it.
I'll do better in the future because I don't want leave Phyllis at the phone with egg on her face.
Meanwhile, we've got to get Dorothy Holman's pictures back to her.
© 2007 Robert F. Karolevitz