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The call was from Beth McAuley. My friend and the whiz-bang, fabulous, relentless editor of my first book. In the decade since she had yanked the words out of me for Women in the Office, she had started The Editing Company (while I had avoided writing completely).

Now, she was back with an opportunity not to be missed. I was suspicious. Beth knew too well my procrastinating ways. Something was up… Then, she mentioned the letters. (I should never ever have told her about them.) Two years they had been aging…which was fine with me. But not with Beth. She never liked good material to go unwritten.

She was here to help. Writer Support Package, she called it. (I thought of the thick hose holding my varicose veins in place.) And, yes, there was a fee, but it would be affordable and payable over time. The Editing Company would be with me from start to finish. Prodding gently to get words on paper. Holding my hands through fears and bad drafts. Pep-talking confidence when necessary. So much more than just editing.

Beth was good.

Almost immediately a duet began in my head. My one-woman-show-of-self-doubt hummed in my ear: “Crazy, Crazy for thinking about this…!”

My more adventuresome self, backed up by the righteous chorus of my mom, sister Nancy…and, of course, the cats, countered with a “You sh, shh, shhh, should do this. Doo-wah, doo wah”

Self-doubt was not to be put off: “Money, money, money. You can’t afford this…”

The clever chorus sniggered and began “100 bottles of wine on the wall, 100 bottles of wine…just to think…if you didn’t drink…you could afford it all, all, all…” The cats were getting really good at harmonizing.

Both of me told Beth I’d get back to her.

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