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Sunday, September 05, 2004
It's been a funny sort of year. Those readers who detected a note of tension and underlying menace in our last post, written over a glass of ouzo in an Internet cafe looking out on a serene and glorious beach, were actually completely wrong — as far as any of the e-editor team could possibly know at the time.

But the forces of evil were even then girding their loins. The cynics were deserting their principles and covering their positions. And a pattern of events was about to unfold that proves, once again, that you can't trust a manager who can't spell.

To cut a long story short, the return to work proved to be rather more temporary than expected. One day, in fact. Another reorg, another redundancy notice, and another twist to the tale of 2004.

This is a year that's already included two phone calls in March from an earnest reporter on The Times who accused us of being Belle de Jour, the energetic and literate London call-girl whose antics and opinions have made for one of the brightest blogs in town.

The Times believed its own clumsy analysis of stylistic and punctuational quirks in this weblog and Belle's proved they came from the same hand — thus confirming e-editor's pole position in the race for the Daniel Defoe/Moll Flanders Award 2004, and also crediting us with a range of athletic experience we had never, alas, so much as dreamed of.

This was followed, within weeks, by an abrupt elevation at work to a position of completely unexpected global prominence, endorsed with the now-traditional insignia of the BlackBerry and the sheaf of plane tickets. The slinky blue Mercedes Sports Coupe followed in mid-July, and the redundancy notice a week into August. So it hasn't been dull. And there's still more than a quarter of the year to come.

What's interesting, though, is that this flurry of ups and downs has had an intrinsic excitement of its own. Sudden change is energising — if you like that sort of thing — and it's already clear that being jolted into action can be a fantastic stimulus to thought and creativity.

Whims and notions that had been parked indefinitely suddenly become real possibilities. Is it time to shift back towards the financial services industry or the big consultancies, perhaps to gee up an underperforming publishing unit producing brokers' comments or sector newsletters? Is the idea of working in Germany or France ever going to be more than a pipedream? Should the e-editor concept stop being an exercise in altruism and start turning into a full-blown training and consultancy business?

The blood is not yet dry on the redundancy documents, but already the world seems pregnant with possibilities. There are still some loose ends to be tied up and farewells to be said, especially to the 40 or 50 writers and editors we've been working with in Britain and the US who seemed keen to buy into the e-editor approach. Then it's onwards, into the unknown. If 2004 carries on the way it's been so far, it's guaranteed to be an interesting ride. And that's about all you can really ask for. Bring it on.  
The live blog for everybody who lives and dies by the word. The UK's top guide to editing better and getting more respect for it is at www.e-editor.co.uk.

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