that was when I lost my leaves

September 16, 2015 § 1 Comment

We of PenHouseInk fame used to say of editing that the last cut was the deepest since it meant finally getting rid of what we of PHI fame called our pleased as punch lines, and punchlines, the lines which made you the writer weep, the lines which begin as the heart of the matter, then the scaffolding which holds the piece up until it supports its own weight such that those lines, the lines that made you weep because they were the lines which held the story, which held the feelings which propelled you to write the piece in the first place, were of course no longer needed because once finished the very work of the piece as a whole is to elicit those feelings in the reader

andso those punchlines are rendered by comparison a roughly hewn bludgeon

I was reminded of this at the shoppe yesterday when lyn, and brooke, were looking at an almost completed version of the latest book in the cycle of who am I what do I want how do I know, NAME; the first story. And after a short while they said, “we’re going to put it together how we think it should go,” (which is sort of what I say about someone else’s work, in its formative stages, if I read it differently from the way it is being laid out) to which I responded, “I am not afraid!”

Turns out they were offended or jarred or irritated or distracted, yes distracted by a sheet of paper which I had intended as flyleaf, a piece of manufactured paper with leaves, completely out of character with the rest of the pages, and to fresh eyes completely, um, extra, completely extraneous. What was that for!? they wanted to know

Indeed. It was as it turned out one of those pleased as punchlines, standing in first, as inception and then, as underpinning because I had not, did not, trust the piece even in its final shape to hold itself up, did not believe it was bearing its own weight.

In the truest sense then that remnant of paper was just that, a vestige and now completely unnecessary, but as is sometimes the way of seeing, I hadn’t.


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