Edits

The trust comes pretty quickly, if the writer is honest with herself and the editor is good. He strikes that word, or paragraph, or page. A slight tinge of reluctance evolves into a swelling pride, then morphs unsentimentally into embarrassment of and disdain for one’s own writing. How could this have been the job I chose, for I’m terrible at it.

The disdain, when allowed to dissolve by the suppression of pride, then realizes its potential. To clarify and correct, to simplify, to self-edit. Yes, it was useful to have written it, but it does not belong to the piece. The writer begins to hear the blue-inked pen in her ear. “That word is almost always unnecessary”; “This section is nonsensical”; “Do you mean escaped where you wrote rogue?”

So the editing process goes — battles fought on the same side of the war. And small victories are won, spots of blood surfacing at the margins. Ultimately, certain things become clear: A writer must have a purpose; obstruct the ego; ‘currently’ is always redundant, and God lives in specificity. Do not avoid the truth but do not presume to be able to capture it; inform; nothing will remain the way you wrote it, and it may never have existed that way to begin with.