editing, reading and lavender tutus

lavender tutu by pink sherbet via flickr

Two thirds of the way through. 59,677 words. 333,027 characters. The third (fourth? fifth?) edit. I’ve lost count.

I’m at that stage where I think I have rewritten every paragraph, every word, every character, a thousand times, which I’ve been told is a sign that it is time to let go and oh how I want to, to finish this editing drudgery. I’m too much of a perfectionist to let it float away from me until at least I can feel that it makes sense, that the story is relatively well told. (And yes, I will need readers, ones who can read without fear of hurting my feelings even if they scratch out half of it with sharpies and say…”no, no, no, what were you thinking?” I will allow them to call me names, and I will feed them 72% dark chocolate—or milk, if they prefer—and rich espresso, or fragrant tea, depending on their preferences. But not yet. Not finished yet.)

I was a reader once, of an endless manuscript written in another tongue that I devoured in a marathon of sleepless nights over a Thanksgiving holiday when my family was far away and I was alone in the city. (Yes, it’s true, they couldn’t find anyone else to do it…sucker that I am.) Anyway…tucked in my little apartment, I lived and breathed this memoir (yes, it was a memoir) which might have been lovely had I liked it…but I loathed it. It did end up getting published and a movie was even made of it, which I suppose means that I was a terrible reader or simply had very different taste than the editors or the reading public. Oh, and the author killed himself prior to its publication, may he rest in peace, which creeped me out until I realized I was no one in the scheme of things, my little foray into formal readership brief and unnoticed… I hope.

I wonder if we could live our lives like that. Oh, I know we return to our pasts via our memories (and via facebook, which I’ve deactivated, at least for the time being). But what if we could edit our lives? What if we could erase certain passages, highlight others, bring into greater prominence some characters and minimize the impact of others. What if we could change the scene, write the dialogue, add or remove the drama, skip around in time and space. The past would then have no meaning, but perhaps the future would lose its import too, for in one fell swoop our lives would become a manuscript subject to our will.

But oh, this theory is so highly implausible. It would never, ever work. Not because of reality or its constraints…but imagine a world where multiple editors edited at the same time the same passages. Too many cooks to the nth degree. Above all, impossible to sync!

It would generate so many error messages we’d all just self-destruct. Poof.

Time for bed, and a weekend away from editing (and blogging). My brain is clearly…mush. Hence the image of the lavender tutu which has nothing to do with anything and I would never wear (but I do love the color).

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6 thoughts on “editing, reading and lavender tutus

  1. I will GLADLY read this book. In fact, please please please.

    For some reason, until I got to the end of this blog, I thought that was the title of the new book. I’m pretty pumped that it isn’t. You’re wonderful, just keep swimming. I’m sure the book is AMAZING.

    1. cassie, cassie, cassie I hope to be the one to read you, and first in line at your first book signing. You and Annie both!

      Did you really think that was the title of my book?….eeeeeek!

      1. You do realize that as soon as I get an email that you’ve posted a blog I read it right away. I could be on the toilet and I would be reading your blog. Your writing is a gift, seriously. Your book is probably going to win the National Book Award and sky-rocket you to instant fame. These are my hopes. : )

        And yes. Tutu’s … even though that seems almost nothing like you? Hm…I’m not sure what I was thinking. Unless it was a children’s book.

      2. You are too too funny. Did you know Henry Miller was famous for reading on the toilet? He said this:

        All my good reading, you might say, was done in the toilet. There are passages in Ulysses which can be read only in the toilet — if one wants to extract the full flavor of their content.

        So, erm…I guess I’m honored. ?

  2. How wonderful that you are almost finished. Can’t believe you read a memoir for a man who killed himself and although you found it unworthy, somehow those pages made it into print. I once read a body of work that I despised but I had to finish it. In the end, the author removed all the interesting parts and left just the impression he wanted people to remember. It was annoying as hell. If you need a reader, I’ll offer my services. Your words have a way of drawing me in every time.

    1. Actually when I re-read my post I regretted making light of the fact that he did end up taking his life. It was very sad, and while I didn’t like his memoir he was a very interesting and certainly well loved man. Disclaimer after the fact.

      Sorry your reading experience was similarly unsatisfying, annoying, etc.

      Now, as for being almost finished with novel #1, don’t hold your breath. It might end up being shoved in the drawer in lieu of #2 which actually I like much better. I’m famously shy about showing my work, but I just might take you up on your generous offer when the time comes! 🙂

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