Letter(s) on behalf of Belden Walls

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Letter(s) on behalf of Belden Walls

Post  Mr. Belden Walls on Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:56 pm

Dear Friends,

I hope you all are doing well. Belden Walls has asked me to address you, his “new-found acquaintances” as he calls you, though I suspect he actually means “friends.” Belden, a man of letters in the traditional sense, is however not a man of his own letters: so, he has asked me, his National-Book-Award-winning author, to write you. I certainly wouldn’t do this for anyone, but Belden has an almost supernatural gift for making even the most stubborn of folks bend to his will.

Since the 1890s, four generations of Walls editors have called one of the many gilded row homes in the Upper East Side their home. The original decor still remains, from the velvet wallpaper to the heavy leather seating area, where Mr. Walls and I would often work until the late hours. One anachronism in this exhibit of old-world wealth is Belden’s computer, where he now works until the early morning hours. Sometimes I would receive an email at three or four in the morning. His work ethic is admirable indeed.
Until a few months ago, Belden worked in the publisher’s office in Midtown. Belden, along with a number of other editors, began working remotely when our humble publishing house was purchased by Engel Publishing late December. Serious cutbacks and “restructuring” occurred shortly thereafter.

I was there, late in Belden’s office, when THE Engel, Gabriel Engel, disregarded the shut door and waltzed in. This wouldn’t happen during business hours, for sure, but at almost nine in the evening, it made both of us jump. Belden, while perhaps attractive in a certain angle and a certain light, can be downright horrifying in another. The color drained from his face, his eyes blazed, and I could almost hear an almost sub-decibel growl from him. I immediately felt my legs shaking from the adrenaline pumping through them, for you see, no one would dare interrupt Mr. Walls when he was with an author. At least that was what I thought.

I spun around to face the intruder, and saw what could only be described as an early Victorian dandy. Gray and muted purple checkered pants, matching cravat, gloves, umbrella, and, I kid you not, a top hat. Walls growled a monosylabic threat, and Engel replied in a series of metaphors too convoluted to remember. There was a beat of tense silence, and I debated between hiding behind the window curtains or bolting. Engel’s face twisted into a frightening grin as he suddenly opened the umbrella and threw it my direction. It was then that I concluded that Engel was a clown and that Engel Publishing was most certainly a circus.

My initial shock vanished once I noticed that the umbrella made not of nylon and steel, but baleen and silk, customary of the craftsmanship an actual Victorian dandy would prefer (I can’t help being a historian). When I moved the umbrella aside, I saw Engel pointing an umbrella-length blade at Belden’s cheek, cutting it slightly. I offered to call the police, but Belden only held up his hand, making me feel as though I had just made a ridiculous suggestion. Our meeting was thus concluded, and I followed a defeated-looking Belden and the Dandy Madman out of the office, into an elevator, onto 5th Avenue. The two of them stepped into a private car polished to such a mirror-like finish that it reflected the Christmas lights without any distortion. No one appeared to notice or care that I didn’t join them, and that was fine with me.

Later, I found out that Gabriel Engel preferred Belden to work from home, so that Gabriel could be “closer to his child.” I’m not sure what that means, but it sounds very condescending and unprofessional. Should Belden find out that Gabriel calls him “child,” I certainly wouldn’t want to be Gabriel. I can’t explain it completely, but while Belden is both a gentleman and a professional (and a friend), he can also be completely terrifying.

And at this point, I suppose I should mention that I have other work to do and deadlines to meet, and this "Engel" business makes me very uncomfortable indeed.

Respectfully yours,
David J. Taylor, PhD
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Re: Letter(s) on behalf of Belden Walls

Post  Story "the Fray" Teller on Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:08 am

Damn, Ashley. Wow. That's some serious prose. You must do this for a living Smile I'm like speechless.
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Re: Letter(s) on behalf of Belden Walls

Post  Mr. Belden Walls on Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:05 am

Haha not anymore. Unless you're tied with a book publisher, writing is a Very Bad Deal. This includes journalism, magazine writing, online writing writing (the worst) and any other writing you can think of. No, I'm happy staying on the publishing side.
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Re: Letter(s) on behalf of Belden Walls

Post  Story "the Fray" Teller on Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:37 pm

Sucks, it's a tough world out there for writers these days, especially passionate ones.

Take 10 xp for this awesome piece btw. Don't you wish xp would pay rent?
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