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  • “Bert just sent me his story and I’m forwarding it over to you,” the editor said.

    I sat at my inbox waiting for the file to drop in. It took four days. Because it arrived by mail:

    Five typewritten pages, mistakes crossed off with keys and re-typed correctly. Who types anymore? I wondered.

    Bert Sugar did.

    Enclosed with his short manuscript was personal note on a simply rendered letterhead featuring a pixelated Bert in his signature fedora, cigar hanging from grinning lips. It took us three weeks to edit Bert’s story and for him to sign off on the changes because the publisher’s editor and I had to send each round of changes by regular mail.

    When I checked my news feed Monday morning and saw that he had died, I felt a reader’s loss. And I felt lucky to have worked with him when he was still churning words, still unafraid to take writing back to its nitty gritty, convenience be damned.

    I imagined an aging man with an impenetrable air of solitude, hunched over, tap, tap, tapping away. I remembered shaking my head at the only writer on the book project who refused to use email, and I remembered wishing I was him.
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