Monday, July 19, 2010

A Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,
I'm having a hard time right now.  I don't know for sure if I need your help or really what I need from you, but I think we should talk.

See, for some time now, you've been the editor of my life.  Not in a bad way, but just as your job description dictates, you've changed the original story.  Through a lot of it, I've needed you, oftentimes reminding me to fill in the gaps with fluffy, fun scenarios that I would have considered to be a waste of time, or reeling me back in when I went off on unnecessary tangents.  You have been very good at teaching me when a little bit of drama keeps the story interesting and adversely when I let that drama get a little bit overboard, which we all know is a tendency of mine.  You have been amazingly helpful. Although some of these things have improved the manuscript with the deletion or insertion of just little bits here and there, some things are missing from the way my life story was intended.  My original version contained long, eloquent sonnets filled with romance, love and passion, only to have been replaced by drawn-out passages of nothingness, anticipation, and hopefulness.  Years have been spent idly standing by waiting for the plot line to finally unfold, one I'd spent countless hours imagining and envisioning, proofing and revising.  It's only been recently that I realized this plot line had taken quite a different turn somewhere along the way, not because of me, but because of how it'd been edited.  Looking back, I'm not quite sure which chapter it was, but somewhere in the history of this adventure, something changed, setting the path of the rest of the book opposite to my intention.  It seems that the editor became the writer, the words became yours instead of mine and the action was based around your desires and intentions for the end result.  My nice "tied up with a bow" ending seemed ever more distant, and quickly became impossible, considering the new route of the main characters.  As the author, I lost my voice and my story became the victim, but not before it had become our story, only then to evolve into your story.

I need to find my voice again.  I need to steer my saga back towards its original path.  But, I'm having a hard time finding and keeping the balance.  I need the editor; I want the editor; I'm attached to the editor.  But, I can't let you take my story and make it something that it should never have been.  I can't just hand it to you, with all the work, time and effort that's been put into it, and let you change and manipulate it into something almost unrecognizable.  I need you to compliment the story, not control it.  Maybe I need you to be less of an editor and more of a, a contributing author.  Maybe I could write the story, but cite you in my bibliography as providing elements that helped me make the tale great.  I'll give you credit, just don't outshine me.  I don't want people to be confused anymore when they read it, wondering if I wrote it or if the editor really should have taken that by-line.

I love having you as a main character in my memoir and to change that would completely ruin the character I've become and will become.  But, I don't think you can be the main character anymore and have anything other than a never-ending, mundane, repetitious anecdote.  When my life story is all said and done, I want people to read it, turn the last page and exhale, having held their breath in excitement and anticipation of the next chapter, the next paragraph, the next sentence!  That won't happen if all the adventures that could be are edited out before the first reader gets to enjoy them.  So be there for me, but don't hold me back.  Let me write the novel that's inside of me with as many words and adventures as I can imagine.


1 comment:

  1. You should take time away from those guys and make yourself a priority. If you want to hang out with friends on a Friday night--do it. If a guy happens to ask you out that night--too bad. In my experience, I often feel like I have a better direction when I make my own decisions and don't worry about what the guy in my life might ask or do. It's just easier that way.


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