A surprise among the spam.

I had a delightful surprise last night, courtesy of my junk-mail folder. And no, I didn’t click on one of those f**kbook ads.

No, I opened what I thought might be a communique from one of my credit-card companies. I take these things seriously because recently a spam-folder note turned out to be real – my credit card had been hacked.

Thus I opened and read the new one, which at first glance looked like a phishing attempt. But it was late and my eyes were at half-mast, so I decided to give the missive a closer read the next morning. When I moved it to my inbox, the e-mail below it popped up automatically.

That one I was thrilled to see.

Sometimes, the spam filter goofs

The e-mail was from Houghton Mifflin, wanting to renew an agreement made four years ago. The publisher had paid a very nice fee to put an article I’d written into a literature textbook.

(The piece was about a community garden in an impoverished neighborhood known mostly for crack sales, gang violence and out-of-wedlock births. Why it belongs in a literature textbook is beyond me. Maybe it was the writerly way in which I described the nicotiana.)

Now the textbook is being updated. Houghton Mifflin wants to give me some more money. And I almost missed my chance.

The request was somehow interpreted as spam, and in another few days it would have disappeared. A nice chunk of free fundage would have diappeared, too, since the publisher couldn’t use the piece without a signed release form.

The moral of the story: Check your junk mail folders! You can bet I’ll be a little more assiduous about this, no matter how hectic life gets.

Incidentally: The credit-card thing was a phishing expedition, even though it looked fairly legit. The second moral of the story: Don’t call the 800 number in the e-mail. Call the number on your credit card.

Oh, and that Nigerian bank thing? Skip it.

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  1. SherryH

    Yay! Free fundage never hurts. I do glance at my spam folder now & again. I’ll try to be more diligent.

    And the spam folder can be amusing. One day I’m going to write a story with a huge ensemble cast, and all the names are going to be pulled directly from spam headers…

  2. jestjack

    Something like this would make my day….And the article you describe, something positive coming out of a negative enviroment, sounds pretty cool to me. Hope you vacation is going well.

  3. Donna, I can imagine your piece being in a literature book. (descriptive language or by a woman or about poverty and change) Literature books try to move out of the canon and same old categories. For what level is the book written? Yay for money.

  4. Reta Davis

    Oh, yeah! Love those unexpected fundings! Congratulations and may you get lots more of those!

  5. Talk about spam. Someone From B.C. tried hacking my
    Facebook and Google Account…Also, I am trying to send
    you my address for the Travel Bag, but my emails won’t go
    out. Please help me…Many thanks, Cindi

    • Donna Freedman

      @Cindi: What a gigantic hassle. I hope it’s resolved soon. And I did get the e-mail with your address, so the prize will be going out soon.

  6. Holy Crap! Now I’ll have to check mine at least once a week. That is awesome. I can imagine you fantastically describing the crack-filled alleys turned gardens so well that someone would want to pay you for it lol.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Amiyrah: Thanks for your kind words. And good luck on your spam expeditions. 🙂

  7. Nickel

    Donna, can you check to see if I’M in your spam-can? Looking for tips on how to ‘fix-it’ now that some of my GROUPONS expired. Need your expertise, please!


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