Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Michael Simms: A Parable about Publishing

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He yelled: “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am!”

The woman below replied: “You are in a hot air balloon hovering about thirty feet above ground. You are between forty and forty-one degrees north latitude and between fifty-nine and sixty degrees longitude.”

“You must be a writer,” said the balloonist. “I am,” replied the woman, “How did you know?” “Well,” answered the man, “Everything you told me was well said, but I have no idea what to do with it, and the fact is, I am still lost. Frankly, you have not been much help so far.”

The woman responded, “You must be a publisher!” “I am!” replied the balloonist, straightening his tie, “but how did you know?” “Well,” said the woman, “you don’t know where you are or where you are going. You have risen to where you are by a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is, you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault.”

Copyright 2015 Michael Simms 

[This parable is based on an often told tale with versions involving the conflicting points of view of judges and lawyers, property developers and architects, professors and students, gallery owners and artists…  I’ve adapted the characters to reflect my own experience as a practicing writer.  — M.S.]


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This entry was posted on August 31, 2015 by in Humor and Satire, Note from the Editor and tagged , .

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