I am in the middle of my second edit of my "House Manuscript" for lack of a title. It is absolutely amazing to me how every time I go through this thing, I find more errors, redundancies or stuff that I just don't like. One of the things I find more and more frequently is what my Monday night writing friends call the "Word of the Week". It's amazing that sometimes you can use a word like "door" ten times in a page and not see it.
And then there are cases where, because these stories were written as stand-alone pieces, I refer to something three times in three different chapters. The same thing - spun three different ways - in three different places. Enough already, man!
But that is the nature of a good editing session. As a writer, you tend to fall in love with your work the first time out.
"Oh, this is so good. I amaze myself! People are going to love this part."
By the end of the second edit you're ready to change careers, because obviously this is not your thing.
Seriously though, I think I could look at this thing 10 times and still find stuff that is either nonsensical, wrong or that I simply hate. But I take it as part of the process. I am looking at it as a marble sculptor. You chisel out the rough outline first, then the less coarse pieces, and finally down to the point where you're sanding it smooth. This is done with the hope that you don't chip off the nose or a major appendage in the process as well.
But here's the kicker. I am REALLY excited about the book again. And that is a good thing. Because, like Dirty Shirt, I had my ugly fight with this book and told it it was not my friend anymore. I scolded it, called it some bad names and even stopped feeding it for a bit while I was dating my girlfriend poetry.
Poetry is like the Las Vegas call girl for a memoirist having a fight with his genre.
So, I owe a boatload of thanks to a good friend of mine in Michigan who said she was sad to hear me griping about an accomplishment as big as a "finished" book. She snapped me out of my "hate my book" funk and got me back into doing the hard work, the no-fun work of making a good manuscript better. And as I go through it I am getting re-energized about the prospect of finishing and getting the thing published.
The other big thing I'm still excited about is my poetry chapbook titled "On a Road" that is currently out to eight or nine publishers. It is only a collection of twenty poems, but I am super jazzed about the way it came out and think it is unique enough to draw attention from one of those publishers. If it does, I imagine life will become even busier in 2018.
And I'm okay with that.
A couple of literary dates to remember:
- April 1st - I will be selling and signing books at the New Berlin Library for their Local Author Fair. Details Here
- April 11th - I will be reading poetry as the New Berlin Public Library as the featured poet. Details Here.