Vital Speeches of the Day goes back to 1934, and it’s one of the longest continuously published magazines in the world. These days subscribers consist mostly of speechwriters and other policy folx*; librarians; and big time cigar smokers named Cy.
Of course, that latter group is dying out, so the hand-written letters and other eccentric screeds we receive are dwindling, and that’s a shame.
But it makes us all the more appreciative when we get a letter like we got last week from a correspondent whose name we will reduce to initials:
My name is A.K., and we have spoken in the past. In fact you gave me a free subscription to your publication and in turn I gave you free ladies footwear from my company’s website.
Unfortunately, I am no longer a partner at that company, and no not because I gave away free footwear. Believe me you enriched me through your publication far more than I could possibly have with giving away shoes.
Besides starting up and running a roofing repair business I have become a part time volunteer public speaking and leadership coach. I teach 6 classes a week to @70 High School students. For me this is my most exciting 6 hours of my work week. I feel fortunate and proud that I can pass along my excitement for public speaking to these young students. I guess you get some of the credit as a part supporter of mine and glad to share that with you.
I was wondering if you could double down on your past support. Either by providing me free membership to your organization or even better, introductions to a few like minded speech writers whom you feel would be interested in helping me spread the love and passion of public speaking and speech writing.
Looking forward to your positive response.
I wrote back right away, unequivocally denying that in my 15 years at the helm of Vital Speeches that I have received “any footwear, ladies or otherwise, from a subscriber for any reason.” I offered him a free year’s subscription to Vital Speeches—no shoes attached—but encouraged him to find speechwriters on his own.
But of course now that I’ve published this, six speechwriters will come out of the woodwork, eager for a chance to help A.K. with his high school speech classes.
And so it goes, in this happy professional Island of Misfit Toys.
* Yes, folx is a thing. According to the Cambridge dictionary: “a way of writing ‘folks’ … that emphasizes the fact that you intend the word to include all groups of people. … Folx is meant to be a gender-neutral word that includes members of the LGBTQ community.” Every day’s a school day here at Writing Boots—for me, at least.