I have recently been made an offer by the Independent newspaper to become a regular humorous writer for them, and after carefully considering the offer from all possible angles I have decided to rush in blindly and accept it. It will probably seem extraordinary to you that after writing free-lance for The Times for twenty years I should want to transfer my loyalties, so I owe you an explanation.
The heart of the matter is contained in the length of time I have been engaged to The Times. Although I have only been writing Moreover for 5 ½ years, I have been free-lancing for you since the days when I was “A Correspondent”, and sooner or later one needs a fresh stimulus. My first job for you was as jazz reviewer and I gave that up because I was getting jaded. After five years as your humorous columnist, I similarly feel that I very much need a change of scenery. I don’t think I’m writing badly at the moment, but I have been feeling that it took a lot more effort recently – I was, in fact, getting restless, itchy-footed, and the offer from the Independent came along at just the right psychological moment. I think we all need a change of scene from time to time, a new adventure of some kind, and my mistake is usually to stay too long in the same place; staying 13 years on the staff of Punch, for instance, was a step in the wrong direction, and I think a change for me now as a humorist is just right.
You might well rejoin that the Independent is bound to collapse within the year, that I will be out of a job and bitterly regretting the day I ever left The Times, and you may well be right, but one has to step out now and again, and I am prepared to take the chance. It is not for the money, nor is it solely to get hold of the word processor which The Times promised to loan me a year ago. Most of the time I have been very happy working for The Times; I have been given a lot of freedom and encouragement and I don’t regret any of it. Perhaps the worst that can be said is that we have come to take each other somewhat for granted, which is not a bad reason for a change.
Under my contract I am bound to give you three months notice, which I now do. How you would like to handle these three months is a matter which you and my agent can easily settle during my absence in Burma.