Monday, December 7, 2015

I spent the weekend on a mixture of Christmas and writing stuff--shopping (ick), baking Emily Dickinson's black cake (it's not too late; you can too), wandering around the woods in search of a teeny-tiny tree (Ruckus and Anna helped), cutting and decorating the teeny-tiny tree (Ruckus and Anna did not help), reading the proof of a forthcoming Sewanee Review essay (subject: the toll of art on the families of artists), answering interview questions (why is this always so hard?), and receiving rejection letters (no comment necessary). For a few hours in the middle of each day, the sun shone brilliantly and I walked around the streets and glades without a coat on. Otherwise, the sky was black or turning black or getting over being black. December is such an odd month.

And now it is Monday again, and I am back to editing editing editing editing (bread baking) editing editing editing (laundry) editing. It makes me recall one of the best things I read all weekend--the cover letter that the managing editor of the Sewanee Review sends to accompany all author proofs:
There’s no need to be demure or incensed [about editorial changes]. I hope you believe, as we do, that we are all in this together. And though we might quibble about the means, we must agree on the end: an excellent finished work that is lucid, if not revelatory.
I love everything about this--including the ambiguous final phrase. "Lucid, if not revelatory"? Does this mean "clear but not earthshaking"? "Clear and, we all hope, earthshaking"? "Clear and (as we all know) not earthshaking but the best we're likely to get"?

And there there's "demure or incensed." Ah, edited ones, you know who you are.

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