The following is the first installment of a fiction serial that I started writing for one of my other sites, 1000 Follies. I decided that it is a more natural fit here. After running the first III Parts, I will start adding to the story little-by-little. Please come back for Part II.
It is with honest pleasure that I introduce this collection of columns by Margaret Millet. I do so as her friend as well as her Publisher. I worked with Margaret for approximately eight months, during the period that she wrote for my newspaper, The Estimator. It was in that publication that all of the pieces in this compilation first appeared, from September 2006 until March 18, 2007.
I met Margaret about 3 weeks before sending her on her stint to Canada. She impressed me immediately, and with great clarity, as a woman and writer of depth, talent, intelligence and vision. I felt, at the time, that The Estimator had fallen too far away from my initial goals: it had become stale, boring, and perilously close to extinction. In an effort to shake new life into its tired bones, I mass hired an interesting bunch of characters from all sorts of small publications. The Indie Artists, as they liked to call themselves, succeeded in infusing vigorous blood and energy into The Estimator.
Margaret came to me from a tiny magazine that folded a few months later. The job did not pay her bills, something that bothered her to practically no degree at all. She was a woman in love with words. She thought it privilege enough just to be allowed to set her thoughts to paper. Readership was not really something she thought about. I changed that when I sent her to Montreal. Instantly, she had 300,000 people reading her columns: it rather quickly became their privilege. I can think of no one else that I would have even considered sending to another country, with no guidelines or subject matter. All that she had to do was write, steadily and well, to the tune of 3 columns a week. She managed this with beauty, expertise, and an entirely unique voice. Margaret wrote incessantly while up North. I am not sure that she did anything else, apart from the charming perambulations mentioned in her columns.
Although our relations were always warm, considerate, and full of humour, i never got to know Margaret in any intimate capacity. It is my belief that she had given up on the notion of a one-on-one connection with others. She channeled that loss into her writing and, so doing, intimately connected with her readers in a way that would probably not have been possible otherwise.
Margaret Millet, by the way, was not her real name. She chose it for its alliterative quality. Even after I hired her, and gave her that wide readership on a silver platter, she declined to use her given name, which was perfectly lovely. It is not my place to divulge her true identity, so we will continue to call her Margaret Millet, a name that gave her real pleasure.
I sincerely hope that you enjoy the works contained within these covers. I was proud to print them a few years ago, and I remain so. If anything, my enjoyment has increased over time. I hope that you take away something of the intelligence, artistry, and whimsy with which Margaret endowed her writing and her person.
NEW YORK CITY
July 19, 2009