Volume 44, Issue 7 - July 2009

Bob Monroe … Thank You!!!
by Lyle R. Hill

I was in the 7th grade when my very first article … a somewhat simplistic story about a junior high all-star basketball game … was published in the local newspaper. The article had actually been part of a class assignment and my 7th grade English teacher, Mrs. Foster, had liked my work so much that she had sent it on to a friend of hers at the newspaper and he agreed to publish it. When she told me about this, I was unbelievably excited and quite convinced that fame and fortune would soon descend upon me. Without question, I quickly concluded, the paper’s editor would ask me to start covering all of the area’s sporting events and Mrs. Foster would most likely want me to start tutoring some of my classmates as well. To my surprise and complete disappointment, no one seemed to notice … no one called … no one asked me to cover another game or anything else for that matter … and Mrs. Foster never mentioned it again. No fame, no glory, no fortune. It was a worthwhile but tough lesson. Nothing is as discouraging to a writer … regardless of his or her age … as having a piece of work make it into print and then believing that no one noticed or, even worse, no one cared.

Over the years I have had items published in several newspapers as well as a number of magazines, but I will quickly say without any hesitation whatsoever that my experiences in writing for USGlass have been the most enjoyable. To be sure, I have received some stinging criticism for things I have written but I also regularly receive a fair amount of positive feedback and commentary. It’s been fun and it has provided me with an opportunity to meet all kinds of people in an industry that is … interesting … if nothing else. The ongoing support and encouragement has been truly appreciated and the USGlass team is a delight to work with in every way. They are professionals in every sense of the word and are quick to share comments and information with me regardless of who it comes from or what its purpose might be. To this end, the following e-mail, sent by Bob Monroe of Smith Glass in Columbus, Ind., was forwarded to me on June 26th. I have altered it slightly to keep it on point:

Hey Deb Levy,
What’s going on with Lyle Hill? I’m really worried about him. His last couple of articles have been “reruns” and I’d
really like to know if he’s alright. Or like a lot of companies these days have you had to cut expenses and cutting
Lyle was a budget decision? Either way, I’m concerned. What gives? 
Bob Monroe 

At the end of the Monroe e-mail was a note from Ms. Levy herself asking me if she should answer Mr. Monroe or if I would like to handle it. I requested the opportunity to respond for myself … so here it is:

BOB … let me begin by thanking you for noticing and most importantly, for CARING. It is truly appreciated. Now for some very direct answers to your questions. First, “reruns” as you refer to them occur when I either miss a deadline, or submit something that USGlass feels is inappropriate, offensive or deemed not good enough for publishing. I rarely question their decisions along these lines. There have also been times when I have asked for a little time off due to scheduling demands and so forth. These past couple of months have been a little rough and the stuff I was producing wasn’t very good. (By the way, there are some readers who don’t think much of anything I produce is very good and they are not prone to keep their opinions to themselves.)

On average, I’m going to guess that two articles a year are not originals, meaning they were run before. But I’ll let you in on a little secret Bob, if you promise not to tell any of the other readers. You see, a lot of people don’t realize that the reruns are reruns. I know this because of the comments I get about them. Also, the magazine has continued to grow from year to year and new readers are always being added, which means that they have not seen the articles before. 

But now Bob, for my favorite part of your e-mail and the part I really wanted to answer. It was the part about “cutting expenses and budget decisions.” You see Bob, from the tone and wording of the question, it appears as though you might actually think I’m getting PAID for the articles that I produce. Well Bob, I’m not! But the best part of this … and the part that will quickly allow you to see that I am a true dyed-in-the-wool glass industry guy … is the fact that I could have been. 

Several years ago I was offered a deal to write (for pay) for a competing publication but I turned the deal down to stay with good old USGlass. I don’t regret that decision and I still remember what Ms. Levy told me when I shared the information with her. She said … “I won’t be too upset if you decide to go, but always remember that nobody will ever care for you like our readers do.” Thanks for reminding me that she was right, Bob. Thanks for caring!

Lyle R. Hill is president of MTH Industries of Chicago. Mr. Hill's opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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