Sometimes as I write my words come out like they were tossed in a blender without a top and then splattered all over the page. I finish my sentences before the thought escapes and vanishes forever. Then I review what I wrote. It’s the Cobb Salad of Crap! Like choppy seas, the words are unstable; they’re cut up—they don’t sound right together. They lack agreement. They need a divorce from one another before I even place the next period.
They sometimes linger on and on like a directionless wanderer who forgot or misplaced his or her purpose long ago.
Sometimes my words transition from the main idea to a totally non-related paragraph that soon becomes an essay in boredom. Do you think the tree above is pretty anyway? I saw it in Texas.
My words are broken. Kind of like me sometimes. Kind of like you.
The question is, will I, their sole judge, deem them to be fit to even stand trial and go before a jury?
What if buried in the confusion lies a profound truth a jury of readers should be privy to? Do I suddenly take off my judge’s robe and become their public defender? Or do I murder the little darlings anyway?
Reflections on Paring Down
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
“When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.” –Stephen King
I edit my own stories to death. They eventually run and hide from me.” — Jeanne Voelker
“While writing is like a joyful release, editing is a prison where the bars are my former intentions and the abusive warden my own neuroticism.” –Tiffany Madison
“If I can only write my memoir once, how do I edit it?” — S. Kelley Harrell