The elusive art of editing


DSC_0050I think writers come to believe in an innate ability to catch our own errors, spit and polish our work to its very best form, and we do so each time we offer work for submission, contests, or print. This post is yet another chance for me to make editorial mistakes, I know, I know. (Sure, you can point them out to me if you like.)

Truth is, like many artists, poets are just scraping by financially. We cannot afford to hire editors, so we take risks, perhaps believing a little too strongly in our guts, our grammar, and our attentiveness. How hard can it be, we think. Well done, we say. It will be…fine, we whisper as we drift off to sleep having pressed “submit” again, with some hesitation and a little bit of angst.

Deep down we are not entirely sure, but we bravely do what we have to do, which can lead to embarrassing moments. Like the time I spelled the publisher’s surname incorrectly, or saw a clear lack of punctuation upon my 1st read, right after submission! My personal challenges often come in the form of it’s and its, and my deep and abiding love for the Oxford comma that ripples out, abundantly.

Or, most recently, after several months of design, planning, and (several) eyes on every comma, word, line break, title, font, layout, selection of hardware, paper, packaging, and marketing approach, I felt I was finally ready to put my poetry/art books together.

I painstakingly built one hundred copies of the book, tightened each Chicago screw,  placed each stainless steel washer, organized flash card covers into fun and witty combinations, collated stacks of poetry on beautiful cream paper (professionally laid out and printed and drilled with holes for the screws), hand tinted each vintage illustration, and felt a sense of progress and fulfillment at the growing pile of books.

Then I went online to put the finishing touches on the announcement for my book launch. As I typed in the title of my poetry/art book, I felt a niggling. I spell checked a word, and it was correctly spelled…yea, me! But the niggling didn’t go away. And then it hit me…there, blatant, unchecked, WRONG…was a word. On every title page of every book that I just spent days putting together, was a spelling mistake!

POETRY PRIMER | a book of elementary principals

instead of what it should have said;

POETRY PRIMER | a book of elementary principles

ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!

First anger. Then blaming. Then another hissy fit because it was so OBVIOUSLY WRONG and I missed it…we all missed it… but I MISSED IT! And then the creative problem solving began…what if this, or what if that, in an attempt to save it somehow…but I could not. It was WRONG. It had to change. Then my gratitude to God that I saw the mistake before my book was sold!

Yes, indeed. Gratitude. Two hundred times I unscrewed those Chicago screws. One hundred times I removed the offending page and, after paying my printer a substantial amount of money for a one page reprint, one hundred times I replaced the page with the corrected title page. And then I tightly bound the book with the turn of two hundred more Chicago screws! Editor, I am obviously not. Life learner, yes I am. And my thumb and index finger were throbbing proof!

What would I do differently next time? I don’t know, I run a tight ship, so I still can’t afford an editor. Or, maybe I can? Maybe we could barter something? Or, maybe if I sell all of MY POETRY/ART BOOKS (limited edition, signed, numbered, unique, collectible, fun) I can afford an editor for my next project?

Have you got a copy of POETRY PRIMER yet? If you live in Kelowna, delivery is free!

A human, being, and learning humility,

Lesley-Anne

It’s beautiful out here…


324. kisses on the eyelids, so tender

325. the little bird that finds me in a parking lot, drinks water from the lid of my water bottle when I bend down to answer his question

unless

unless (Photo credit: Dean Terry)

326. dog napping at my feet

327. the first writing morning in a long number of days

328. returning to gratitude

329. summer birthdays

330. wine and sweetheart cherries in the candle lit garden

331. friends around the table

332. teenagers sleeping in late

333. teenagers who are gainfully employed

334. husband rising for work

335. healthy bodies

336. the possible

337. “Unless” by Carol Shields

338. remembering Port Townsend tribe

339. opportunities presenting when eyes and hands are open

340. friends who are patient and kind

341. morning sounds

342. finding poems where you least expect

343. considering laundry

344. God who never grows tired, never gives up, waits while I do both

345. wrinkles that prove living

346. a face held by hands, top of head kissed and life words spoken

347. directors of my spirit, soul friends

348. anticipating solitude

349. family holiday plans

350. blueberry waffle plans for tomorrows breakfast

351. photography and captured moments

352. children who pull away, grow strong, test wings

353. young adult son full license success

354. reminders of those with less that teach me more

355. reminders that intentions are not enough

356. reminders to act, phone, speak, write, touch, walk, move…

357. harvest… always

Different kinds of cherries

Different kinds of cherries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Graces, gifts and gratitude


Barrack Building 225, Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, Washington

For those who have just joined me in this experience of seeing gifts in every moment, along the way, as we wait, as we struggle suddenly overcome with blind eyes, I thought it might be helpful to share what began with a single step. It was a book. Ann Voskamp’s book, “One Thousand Gifts” that I picked up one day at Chapters, and then a confirmed thought process, a prompting, a nudging of the spirit, and then the journey beginning and spreading out before me this eucharisteo, this thankfulness for what is set before me when I have eyes to see.

So please consider how the naming of life’s gifts might be something worthy of time and space in each of our lives, and might carry within it the potential to change us from beggars into those overwhelmed by a feast of grace. Here is the blog post where it all began for me… my naming one thousand gifts. That was my start, and although I can’t always document each gift as it happens, I’ve chosen to name many of the gifts here on this blog as a reminder… mostly to me. I hope you join me… and if you do, please let me know… share your list. You are most welcome to do that.

And, if you have the opportunity to pick up and read Ann’s extraordinary book, please do it!

Journeying,

Lesley-Anne

So my list continues:

263. a long journey with a new friend

264. finding your tribe

265. expressing what is risky and beautiful

266. healing through creative expression of a thought, or two, or three

267. fog over sea, first light

268. the long call of a fog horn for safe passage

269. being on the water

270. historic buildings and used book stores

271. a phonecall home, the sound of voices you love

272. scars

273. a bench of your own in a quiet place

274. patriotism

275. listening and learning

276. new ideas

277. new people

278. the sense of place unique to every place

279 – 294. gifts captured in photographs

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Midweek Random Ramble017


1. A big shout out to my friend Heidi McLaughlin on the release of her most recent book, ‘Sand to Pearls’. Watch as Heidi introduces her thoughts on how to make choices that will enrich your life. Yahoo, Heidi!!! I’m excited to read your book, and to feel that tingle up and down my spine when I see some of my own words in print inside! You continue to inspire me in writing and in life!!!

2.

“The secret to great writing . . . is . . .
WRITE!

No, really. It’s true. Too many people spend the majority of their time talking about writing, reading books about writing, wishing they could write, dreaming about the writing life . . . you get the idea. But the fact is, writing is work, and to be a writer one must write and write and write some more.”

Kay Marshall Strom

3. Speaking about being intentional in the daily (writing and everything else), here’s something else to watch and consider… yes, it’s a writing theme today!!! Tim Schroeder, Pastor of my very own Trinity Baptist Church in Kelowna, shares some insights from his book, ‘Life by the Hour,’ in this excellent interview today on ‘100 Huntley Street. Another must for my reading plan!

4. Stories… everyone has them… and they are uniquely written parts of our lives.

Stories are gifts. SHARE., as I was reminded this winter in Starbucks most recent advertising campaign. So, I did!

Here, with the permission of the author (me) I will share again what I had the great privilege of sharing at the Christmas Eve Program at Trinity a couple of weeks ago. A number of other brave souls shared their stories as well. I hope to post a video of the program soon, if one is available.

“Hi my name is Lesley-Anne. My mom had breast cancer, and in the back of my mind I wondered if it might happen to me one day. Even so, it’s surreal to me when recently, my doctor calls me back after a routine test. Next thing I know, I’m being rushed in for more tests and day surgery. And as I wait for results, I’m thinking, “How can this be happening?” I’m thinking the worst. I’m angry. I’m disappointed. But, there is this point where I just say, “OK God, I know you are bigger than this. And I want to believe you are enough for me, no matter what.”

At the same time that all this is going on, I decide to join the Worship Choir and help with the Christmas Program here at Trinity. I want to sing, to praise God openly, like I’m taking a stand on what matters most in the middle of my messy life. So I audition for choir and I make it!

The very next weekend we’re on stage, singing a song called ‘Surrender’, and suddenly I’m crying, because the words are so personal, and I’m standing there giving God all my junk, my fear, my anger, over what I’m going through. And in my heart I’m saying,  “Yes, I surrender all of it to you God.” I feel God’s peace inside me.

Soon, we begin rehearsals for this very service. First time we meet, the director explains to us how the music, drama and experience of the Christmas services are all pointing to one central theme; God IS with us… All Shall Be Well. You can’t imagine how I feel as these words sink in. I am overwhelmed by God and how he knows me so intimately. I made it about my promises, and my worship, and my surrender, proving my trust in God. I almost miss it! So God whispers,“I’m here. I love you.”

“All Shall be Well Lesley-Anne… I am with you.”

God is with us.

Post Script… I received good news from my Doctor… and now I will begin a more vigilant lifestyle… testing more often to ensure everything remains OK. Still, no matter what comes, I stand on the one truth that will sustain me… God is with me.

Soli Deo gloria,

Lesley-Anne