Saturday, January 29, 2011

Occupational Hazards

The occupation of editing as it relates to a literary publication or a publisher of books is often so fraught that the editor is forced to take the actual manuscript home to read in some relative solitude or to seek a place outside the office with its routines of meetings  and other activities that would shock the book- or journal loving reader into a state of catatonic default.  There is enough of the intuitive and creative about the process to cause the editor to yearn for reading and editing time to the same degree the writer yearns for reading and writing time.

Although you believe the editorial and writing yearnings originate in opposite, even opposing sides of the brain, you further believe the common ground is focus.  At what state of focus will the mind begin to wander toward the state where endorphins squirt forth and time appears to have taken leave?How grand it is, whether editing or writing, to lose that part of self as organizer, as universe in order, i's dotted, t's crossed, ducks in a row.  How grand to feel on an almost nonverbal level the affinity between you and story, as though, having read some of the accepted canon, you are now a member.  You are fond of your friends, still warm from the memory and interaction of the regular Friday morning coffee, and look forward to such ad lib encounters with one or more, even though your sense is of a greater likelihood you will meet more remarkable friends in the pages of books and magazines, where characters are wound about the armature of agenda and needs.

"They," which is to say your educators, employers, and perhaps some family members, say story is the linking factor in the most and least of us, that story is our opiate rather than opiate being our story or excuse or passport to interest.  Even those of us with accessible or predictable story are by degrees more refreshing than those with mere ego or inflated self-image.  We make differing stories from a singular event, translating as our languages, cultures, and agendas diverge, bonded in our absolute commitment to differing interpretations.  It is a wonder when a story or a relationship holds.  But it is not surprising.

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