Monday, July 21, 2008

Cautious Optimism

When I read the news and come across cautious optimism splashed across the screen, I always snort. I snort because I think that you're either an optimist or a pessimist and that you cannot be a cautious optimist. Why is it that we never hear of cautious pessimism? 'There is cautious pessimism about the current state of the economy' never ever makes it into print, even if what it means is exactly the same as cautious optimism. It means people, we just don't know.

And so it was for me until this morning, when I received an email that I had to re-read fifteen times in an attempt at making sense of. This read:

"Dear Steph,

Thank you for sending us a proposal and sample writing of your book which we have now read. We’ll be pleased to read more of it if available (the complete book or 2-3 full chapters). Please send the material to the address below.

Best wishes."

You will agree that this is most defintely not a rejection. I do not read any no, either on the lines or between them. Neither do I read any sorry, or any but, or any did not love it enough or any not for us or any best luck elsewhere. Because all of the above means no in real life, one is safe to assume that whatever does not use one of the above expressions or combination thereof means yes. Or, does it? And here is where I felt a surge of cautious optimism frothing up from my stomach all the way to my mouth and was prompted to fire a rabid email to my friend Paul the editor who replied with:

"It means, why are you not at the post box delivering the letter to its innards as at now?"
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