Three e-mails that prove my inbox is weirder than yours

by | Jul 20, 2012 | Writing Matters Blog | 5 comments

Recently, I was doing a deep-clean on my inbox (also known as “taking a break” from a demanding writing project), and I came across some e-mail objets d’art I’d saved. I thought I’d share these three gems with you. The sender’s names have been changed, of course.


E-Mail #1 – The Testy Collaborator

Here’s my e-mail to “Bernard,” a fellow who’d suggested we might work together on an upcoming project.

Subject: A more detailed overview the ABC Group?
Hello, Bernard –
It was great to speak with you yesterday. Could you provide a more detailed overview of your company?  I have looked at your LinkedIn profile and studied your website, but I am still curious about:

  •  Where you worked before forming or joining the ABC Group
  •  When the ABC Group was formed
  •  Who works for you or with you
  •  Who your clients are (specifically)

Thanks for sharing a bit more biography!

And here’s Bernard’s response to me.

Re your questions. Not used to this kind of grilling. Perhaps timing is not right for us to work together.

Needless to say, that project never got off the ground.


E-Mail #2 – The Really Small Business

Here’s the query e-mail I received from “DanceBeats.”

Subject: I need a little sales letter!

Hi Leslie,
My name is Edward and I got a little online business. I sell hip hop/dance/pop instrumentals for singers/songwriters and I need little email sales letter about my special discounts. How much does this cost? Do you have little prices for small businesses? To see more what I do you can go to my website

Thanks –

Edward, Music Producer

I sent Edward a tiny response and quoted him a mini-price, but his answer was a big “no thanks.”


E-Mail #3 – The Honors Student?

Here’s the request I received from “Chief Jason Odinaka,” who’s trying a time-tested work-around instead of actually writing his own college papers.

Subject: My Dear Leslie …

Dear Leslie O’Flahavan –
These are the two subject matter topics, how long will it take you to give me a good work on them and how much ?

  • Question 1: The philosophy essay. Descartes contends that epistemology is really “first philosophy.” First, clearly explain what epistemology is. Second, do you think we can establish an indubitable foundation for all knowledge? Explain why or why not.
  • Question 2: New information technology jobs, such as computer and video game programmers, are often viewed as the new “mother lode” of good jobs in contemporary society. Analyze the transformations occurring in these jobs and the extent to which these jobs can be labelled as “good jobs”. These are the instructions for the research paper essay

7-10 pages, typed, double spaced, using a 12 point font.
At least 10 references.
Must incorporate a minimum of 4 scholarly sources (articles from referred journals, books or chapters by academics.
You must provide page references for all ideas and information you obtained from a source (not just page references for direct quotes from a source.)
Frame a research question/hypothesis. That clearly and succinctly identifies the central question or issue.
Core of the paper is then the review of the recent relevant literature on your topic.

Chief Jason Odinaka

Let it be known that I did not write his Descartes essay or research paper. Times may be hard, but I am glad to say that here at E-WRITE’s corporate headquarters, times aren’t that hard. And I just don’t think I am up to the task of explaining whether we can establish “… an indubitable foundation for all knowledge.” I can tell you right now: if I tried to write Chief Jason’s essay on Descartes, my inbox would be really, really clean.

Wishing you happy, surprising e-mails –

Leslie O.

Tags: E-mail


  1. I have had students in a three-day writing workshop urge me to do their college homework. One gentleman wondered if I could proofread his 400-page novel —
    just for my pleasure! No fee was even offered.

    Bet you can guess my response to each!
    Really enjoyed your entries. Thanks.

  2. Hi, Sheila – Yes, hmm,I think I can guess your response to the “opportunity” to proofread a novel for free. Did you say “Maybe later” or “I wish I could, but …”?

  3. Leslie, it all comes back to the base level of folks not wanting to pay for marketing, because it’s something they could do themselve, if they just had the time. Still amazing after all this time that they happily pay accountants and lawyers (fees which are purely costs) and baulk at investing in marketing. They deserve all the non-business they get.

    Good for you holding the line! Cheers, Peter

  4. nice blog!!

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