Tuesday, February 26, 2008

If U Cn Rd Ths, U Cn b an Edtr n Wrtr

Best Quote I Heard All Day

Editing should be, especially in the case of old writers, a counseling rather than a collaborating task. The tendency of the writer-editor to collaborate is natural, but he should say to himself, ''How can I help this writer to say it better in his own style?'' and avoid ''How can I show him how I would write it, if it were my piece?'—James Thurber

De Emendator non est Disputandum

At various times in my life, from a number of people, I’ve heard:

“You were born to be an editor.”

“You’re a born writer.”

It is true, since I am certainly ill-suited to be your server for this evening. I know how to write. It’s in my blood. And I know how to edit without trying to be the writer’s voice. Thurber’s quote really hits home, this week especially, since my irritation about being summarily edited without the courtesy of seeing the edits has been festering like a suppurating sore.

It’s often said, to paraphrase the well-known quote about teachers, “Those who can’t write, edit.” There is some truth to this, although as an editor for small specialty magazines, I had to wear many hats: editor, writer, art director, layout artist, marketing manager, even accountant (well, I had to deal with budgets). But first and foremost, I have always been a writer. That came first, at age eight, when I learned to knit and learned that I could take words that rhymed and make little poems that expressed my young thoughts and feelings.

Being a good editor means that you do not silence the writer’s voice, ever. It means that you form a partnership with the writer. It’s the difference between helping a writer to tune their voice so that it rings true to them, not to you, so that they communicate with clarity without sacrificing their tone. Nurture. Suggest. Pure and simple. It’s not just the grammar and the spelling. It’s respecting the writer’s essence. Sometimes grammar has to be tossed out the window in favor of soul.

I will not allow my voice to be muffled again. By any amateur editor. And any analogies to music are strictly intentional. Tone, voice, meter—as I was once also a musician, I can only apply musicality to my opera. OK, no more bad Latin.


I may write my next article in LOLCAT—like Carol, I’m a big fan.


It’s so much more elegant a populist language than, say, Pig Latin, or for those of my age from the NY Metro area, Me-a-surry, created by the late, great Murray the K.

GEEK WARNING: If you don’t do computers, skip this bit.

Along with being a writer, I’m a frustrated junior programmer, who can edit but not write pure code. Those of you who are geeks will know what I mean when I say that well-written code can be a beautiful thing. LOLCAT has metamorphosed into a programming language. One that enthralls me far more than Java, Perl, C#, .NET, or even SQL. Here’s a wonderful example, GIMMEH, found on the LOLCODE site:

VISIBLE "You said " N VAR N " !!"

You gotta love the start block delimiter, HAI, and the closer, KTHXBYE. And yes, people are using LOLCODE on legit platforms.

So Yeah, This is a Knitting Blog, More or Less

And so much more, no? Yes, I’ve been knitting, socks and a shawl. In fact, after playing footsie with writing a book for the past three years, I finally realized that my original book idea was indeed the most viable. No, it’s not the book I began writing two years ago and dropped because I didn’t want to produce yet another “My Speshul Knitting Encyclopedia According to Me” kind of tome. This time, it’s happening. And I will publish it myself because I’m not going to have no steenkin’ publisher fuck it up.

The book that has been in my head for almost four years now is pretty much roughed out. Are ya ready?

Rock Sox.

That’s right, socks inspired by rock ‘n’ roll. Not just the designs, but background on the songs and the artists, too, along with my twisted prose. I’ve begun the first design already, Chantilly Lace, and the prototype is looking pretty good. Because I’ll own the material, I’ll print pictures as I go along, and I would expect my Tontant Weaders to give their unadulterated opinions. That's presuming that you skanks have learned something from reading me.

It seemed to me that I have managed to knit quite a few pairs of socks recently. If that’s what I can manage, why not turn it into a fun book to design and write. Here are my raw notes:


· Chantilly Lace (Big Bopper)—lace pattern—black lace with pink eyelet ruffle

· Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini (Brian Hylan)—Fair Isle dots on yellow

· Jailhouse Rock (Elvis)—mosaic stripes?


· Eleanor Rigby (Beatles)—mauve plain sock with a lace cuff?

· Get Off of My Cloud (Stones)

· Purple Haze (Hendrix)—Kidsilk Haze with fine cotton binder?


· Tangled Up in Blue (Dylan)

· Pinball Wizard (The Who)—Large silver beads annoyingly placed

· Stairway to Heaven (Led Zep)


· Born in the USA (Springsteen)—something with red/white/blue, tri-colored cables?

· Cheap Sunglasses (ZZ Top)—intarsia sunglasses

· Burning Down the House (Talking Heads) flame pattern?


· Tears In Heaven (Eric Clapton)

· Heart-shaped Box (Nirvana)

· Wilbury Twist (The Traveling Wilburys)—rocking cable?

The New Millenium

· Good Charlotte

· Green Day

· Blink 182

As you can see, this is not yet fully formed. It's mostly plug and play, if you get my drift. I’ll be checking with Liz as to what songs will be apropos from the New Millenium artists. I fully admit, I know little about these bands. And I’ll listen to her advice.

OK, gang, this has been more than I’ve written in a long time. Thanks for missing me. I missed you, too. The rare and handy hiatus is over. I'm back. Back in the New York groove. Or whatever.


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