"I'm sorry, David, I can't. I just can't."
"David, you've got to help me here. Please."
"I'm a goddamned punching bag. I'm a living joke! I'm the flesh-and-blood representative of everything that's wrong with both J-school and alternative newspapers. I'm just a kid, David! It's too much for one girl to bear."
"Mara, we've talked about this. You write what you have to write so you can write what you want to write."
"I know, but—"
"Listen: Do people know your name?"
"Yes, but— "
"How many other writers from the Voice can you say that about? None. Maybe six people in a nursing home can name Nat Hentoff, but otherwise? Zilch. Trust me. Two years from now, you write your own ticket."
[Sighs.] "You really think so?"
"I promise. Now get out there and get me that scoop on pornographic origami. That's a good girl."