Friday, July 2, 2010

To edit or not to edit: There is no question

Let me just say, firstly, I am in love with the notion of blogging all over again.

I am also currently cursing the "Error 404" gods in the sky, who took it upon themselves to strike right when I hit "publish", after I had written out thoughtful replies to each invaluable commenter of my last post. Honest! Please accept a collective thank you, in lieu of spending another 20 minutes that I can't spare, with a child coming in and checking on me every couple of minutes as it is...

The next best thing is a post in response, I supposed. So here 'tis.

You know what you have collectively helped me realise? There is no point not having my father read my manuscript prior to any sort of printing - even if he reads it after the fact, it won't take away the chance of disappointment, which is actually (childishly, in many respects) all I am trying to avoid. I think the unpolished jewel might be something he feels he can actually constructively help me with. For let's not forget, here is a man who has had no choice but to stand by (beside) and watch my life fall to pieces while his own heart shattered and slowly mended itself. Perhaps, as a grandparent, the pain is doubly difficult because you are watching your child lose their child. God, how indescribably hard that must have been.

So here we have a healing opportunity as well as a most productive, useful one for Dad. Nobody knows how long they have with anyone in this life. And after his major health scare last year, he has been somewhat slower and more tired all of a sudden. It's as if I have this chance to spend time with him - we worked together once, a few years ago, when I designed and put together a book to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of his high school graduating class in 2005 - and sweep out any of the darkened corners of this enormous life-changing event we both experienced (from such different perspectives but with the same loved ones at the centre of it).

I want my work to be heavily scrutinized, it is in serious need of a raze when I finish. There is no avoiding the paces any editor is going to put me through. On sleeping on this for a night, and coming back to these thought-provoking, supportive comments, I'm finding myself rather getting used to the idea as being a mighty good one - when I really think about it, I'm unsure I would be able to take the initial nitty-gritty suggestions or critique of an editor who wasn't involved at ground zero. This is something I had not even contemplated until today! My main desire is to avoid more work, get it out the door, get the monkey off my back. But I know, also, that to rush the end, when I've already spent so many years on it, would be detrimental and disastrous to the finished product.

What's more, what other editor will I be able to pay in Bassett's Licorice Allsorts, dark choc-coated ginger, assorted shortbreads and fine brewed coffee?

Mind you, he could always say no. And in that case.... problem (sort of) solved!

I'm going to ask him to take it on. As a job. With his critical eye. For, surely, he cannot help but read it as a father as well. I mean, nobody, who has a heart, will be able to read the book and not occasionally ponder this happening to their own child, so the only difference is.... it has already happened to his. (See? Look at this mess of a last sentence: I need an editor!!!)

And now, I must go and see the LGBB's high score on her Strawberry Shortcake game. Her life apparently depends on it.

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