While we’re proud of the famous bylines that often appear in Maclean's, we're no less proud of the comparatively unknown writers whose names appear in each issue on page 4. They are the unpaid authors of our Mailbag column. Facing a rejection rate that would make professional writers blanch, they write us by the thousand every year. They„write to tell us what a good job we're doing or what a bad job we’re doing, to grind personal axes, to tear apart Arguments that don't agree with them and to put forward arguments that do. to ask where they can buy a new product they've read about in Preview or to show us their design for a Canadian flag. We love them all.
This is what happens when the
mail arrives: every letter is typed by a girl with an uncommon knack for deciphering even the most obscure handwriting, and copies are distributed among all the editors. We try to acknowledge every letter we receive.
For a reason we've yet to discover (more retired citizens with time for serious cogitation?) we get more letters from British Columbia than any other province and more from Victoria than any other city. Ontario runs second, followed by Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta. Maritime readers w'rite least (too busy?).
Over a year, we get letters from every state in the Union and recently we’ve had comments from
Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia; Keri Keri, New Zealand; and Marudi, Sarawak. British Borneo.
Choosing a dozen or two to publish every two weeks is an ordeal. Since we haven't the space for an open forum, we limit our choice to letters dealing specifically with Maclean's articles. We like pithy letters (ten-page, single-spaced epistles aren’t uncommon) and we often have to edit them for reasons of space. Both pro and con, we try to sample the variety of opinion, rather than indicate the sheer weight of it.
Then George Feyer goes to work. Feyer is a Hungarian-born artist who’s been illustrating Mailbag since 1952. Without a pencil. He borrows a pencil from us and.
more quickly than an ordinary mortal can read a letter, he illustrates it. Oar job is never to inspire him — only to tone him down. He likes dogs better than people and bis cartoons are always overrun with dogs. Occasionally — such as the time he drew a Red Ensign on a pillow — his illustrations for letters draw more letters which he, in turn, illustrates, which . . .
Some of our liveliest correspondence is exchanged with a handful of very regular writers. Our alltime champion is a man who lives in Toronto. At press time, he’d written us thirteen times this year. He is followed very closely by certain residents of Prince Albert, Sask.. Brandon. Man., and. naturally, Vancouver and Victoria.
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