Blast from the Past

Well, it’s nice to take a break from the past few tireless hours of book editing. At the end of the day, does anyone even give a crap where the commas are? If the story is good, I don’t usually notice the editing, so I can’t imagine anyone else cares.  While I love what I wrote, it definitely gets old after the third read through, especially on a screen, but printing 300 pages over and over again gets daunting!  I have fallen into a place lately where it is almost getting too difficult to maintain the books I have written because too much is happening. While I don’t keep a  journal, I view my books as a type of journal, where only the highlights get saved for posterity.

Does any one else remember when we were younger that journals used to come with little locks on the sides? They were insanely easy to pick, but as a kid I remember feeling so much security locking up my thoughts. It seems so strange to me to now be willingly allowing others to read my thoughts. It is liberating in a way, to have turned those stories and feelings into something I feel proud enough of to share with the world….or at least the few people who have taken the time so far to read.

There is something about writing that feels so insanely personal and private. Reading memoirs, biographies, or even Wikipedia pages about other people’s lives seems somewhat invasive to me. Reading everyone’s personal thoughts on this blog even, feels personal to me. While it might not be the most scandalous thoughts, even reading peoples own insecurities about their writing is personal. It is liberating in a way though, to just share what you want to. Writing, or at least the writing that you allow others to see, allows you to become whoever you want, which allows you to live within the world you create. It is a big responsibility in a way, to be the one making that world, but that’s why I love it.

5 thoughts to “Blast from the Past”

  1. Wait you’re editing a 300 page book?? That’s pretty crazy! I know how you feel with editing the same thing over and over again (although I’ve definitely never experienced editing something of such great length). The words get blurred and my eyes glaze over the sentences. Even if a sentence might not sound great, it begins to because of the endless times of reading it. I think what helps is walking away from it and approaching it with a clear mind next time.

    You touch on the power of writing. I think it’s liberating to share your thoughts and I never thought of reading someone’s writing as “invasive.” The reason I wouldn’t define it that way is because writing for the most part (besides Wikipedia pages and biographies) is the author’s choice. They choose to disclose as much or as little as they want to. That’s why they call it the freedom of expression, right?

  2. I really relate to this post, as my sister was just talking to me about the journals we used to keep. It turns out we were both reading each other’s secretly, so I guess those locks were not that helpful. I agree it can feel invasive, yet enjoyable, to read other people’s personal words. I have always have a hard time beginning to write a personal piece, but once I get going it can be freeing. Although, I do agree with Melody that there is quite a bit of “author’s choice” that allows for flexibility to prevent complete exposure of a person. I try to restrict myself from doing to much manipulation, but sometimes it’s hard to resist.

    Good luck editing!

  3. Thanks for sharing! I really share your sentiments on this topic. I have two thoughts on this: 1) I remember those diaries that were marketed toward girls because the front said “girl power” and you used to have to give a secret password for the diary to open. 2) My sister and I recently read her journal from when she was younger, and she abbreviated everyone’s names. She was so scared that someone would find her journal and read it, that she didn’t feel comfortable writing out people’s full names. But when we were reading it, we had no idea who she was talking about because we couldn’t remember that far back. It’s funny to think about–we used to be so concerned that other people would read are thoughts, and now they’re all over the internet. You’re right, there really is no sense of privacy anymore.

  4. The concept of writing with total and complete honesty scares me too. If I’m being honest, prior to my “Why I Write” essay I lied in my essays all the time. They were never big or harmful lies, or lies that would impact my grade on the papers had they been found out. But they were lies that furthered my point – and I wrote them all the time. I suppose it could be considered artistic license, but what is the point of a personal narrative if everyone else thinks they are learning about me, but are instead learning about the story I crafted in my head? Being a part of the minor has, I think, helped me curb this habit.

  5. This is a wonderful post! I am beyond impressed with your job, I am sure editing a 300-page book is not a small task. I am an editor myself, and I can barely get through a 1,000-word article without becoming lost or missing significant errors.

    I also agreed with your point about enjoying personal memoirs. The best book I’ve ever read is the Glass Castle, a memoir. Every life is a life worth living, but to be able to make that life come alive on a page, that element of reality that overlaps with fiction, truly makes reading and writing worth doing.

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