® A Day in the Life: The Day I Lost My Innocence

It was heady, unreal. Having been invited to a private luncheon given by one of the sport's premier touring magazines, surrounded by senior editors and others whose names were household words within the industry, I was excited to be included in the meeting's agenda of discussing the magazine's next issue. Not just any industry rag, the magazine was one that, for example, exclusively required mounted K64 slides as photo submissions, such was its publication's unique look and its superlative graphical reputation in the trade. Having been encouraged to submit material for the mag's yearly special issue, I was as yet naive, motivated, thrilled. I still believed that technical knowledge trumped politics. This was soon to change. As if it were a bad dream, the mere notion of objectivity in my articles was vigorously discouraged, and I was given the unmistakable directive to cater to one of the magazine's top advertisers, a then-prominent synthetic oil retailer, in my material. Over Shrimp Scampi, in Southern California's lofty Agoura Hills, I looked for confirmation among the seven at table of what I seemed to be hearing. But it was all too clear. I was preparing to prostitute my writing talent, such as it was, and I was sick with the loss of my innocence. Subsequent to a number of phone calls and letters of correspondence with the advertiser, in which he made it plain he was the expert on the subject and magazine-sanctioned abitrator of same, I was unable to come to terms with such complete, abitrary control over my work, and chose to abort my inaugural authoring career and ultimately accepted a surprisingly generous "kill fee" and moved on to more of life's lessons. I have not looked at magazines in the same way since.

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