Saturday, September 3, 2011

Editorial Notes on You

You see G. three or four times a month, at Peet's, the large coffee shop on upper State Street, although you first met him in his office about two miles away, when you were advised  to consult him for a second opinion.

G. has become in many ways the embodiment of the second opinion for you because he seems as concerned about it as you do, whenever you have reason to consider one.

He began his career as a teacher, but began to have second thoughts about that profession, thus his return to school, his application to medical school, his purposeful gravitation to oncology. You have had many long,satisfying conversations with him, but he has never so much as written a prescription for you.

It comes to you that you are comparing editing with oncology, further that you are making the observation that it is easier to say no to chemotherapy than it is to editorial suggestions.

Perhaps because you have been, so to speak, in the business yourself, you are relatively--say a nine on a ten-point scale--non-defensive about your own work being edited, listening to the suggestions and weighing potential result.

When it was G's time to speak to you about the potential result on you were you to indulge a course of chemotherapy, it was easy to use that lovely Latin word applied in matters of editorial suggestion: Stet--let it stand (as it is).  Instead of telling G. stet, you said, See you at Peet's.  You have looked back on that decision with comfort over the ninety-odd months since you made it.

Answers you are comfortable with are not necessarily answers free of risk, thus the awareness that you are often as comfortable as it is humanly possible to be with risk in the picture.

You have not had notably bad advice from editors or professionals associated with cancer.  Through your associations with both, you life has been changed; you were not the same person coming out as you were going in.  There have been some, shall we say, rerouting of your bodily parts as, indeed, there have been rerouting of your paragraphs, pages, entire concepts.  You have been edited on a number of levels to the point where you are comfortable with the changes that have been wrought.

No one you see on any regular basis has commented that you appear any different than before you were, shall we say, bodily edited.  They have properly concluded that the thinning of what was once a great curly mop of hair just above your forehead was the consequence of male pattern thinning.   They do not, when talking of you, say, Lowenkopf has been edited.  Although when you sometimes see A, the surgeon who did some artful rearranging, you thank him for the editing job. Nor can you think of any time at all when a reader has told you that a particular work of yours had been much improved or, contrarily, much made more opaque or leaden because of editing.

You are out on the streets, looking about, enjoying the sights, the flowers, the ladies, and ah, the music.  You are editing your own work and the work of others.  Few individuals except A and G and, on occasion, the Techs who assist you through your yearly scan, know the extent to which you have been edited.

It has become the perfect equation.

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