"FEB. 3, 19—
"This was a 'big day.' I had three acceptances. And one editor asked me to send him some stories. To be sure, I hate having an editor ask me to send a story, somehow. It's far worse than sending them unasked. The humiliation of having them returned after all is far deeper than when one just sends off a MS. to some dim impersonality behind an editorial desk a thousand miles away.
"And I have decided that I can't write a story 'to order.' 'Tis a diabolical task. I tried to lately. The editor of Young People asked me to write a story along certain lines. I wrote it. He sent it back, pointing out some faults and asking me to rewrite it. I tried to. I wrote and rewrote and altered and interlined until my MS. looked like a crazy patchwork of black and blue and red inks. Finally I lifted one of the covers of the kitchen stove and dumped in the original yarn and all my variations thereof.
"After this I'm just going to write what I want to. And the editors can be—canonized!
"There are northern lights and a misty new moon to-night."