Monday, January 25, 2010
30 Days of Touch -- Red Pen
I've been using a red pen a lot today -- my editing pen. I use it to make notes on other people's writing and to fix my own.
My writing has a lot more red marks than their's.
While I was using it, I remembered how, a few years ago, when I was writing Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality and I sent it to my former college professor and mentor T. Canby Jones. Though he called me and told me how much he liked it (which meant a lot), I remember getting the marked up manuscript back and feeling just like I did when I was a student of his at Wilmington College.
And I also thought of all the green ink that my fave editor Lil Copan has bled over the three books of mine that she's worked on. And that was after I had red-penned them numerous times!! I lived for the occasional "Good" or "Great" -- instead of the "I know you're a preacher, but quit!" comment. Even though she was right.
Ah, the editor's touch. Red ink, green ink, blue ink, yellow highlighter, Microsoft Word "track changes" and more. Hard to take, sometimes. But all with intent of making my writing clearer, stronger, better. And, for the most part, it did. And, I have learned to be a bit more brutal with myself while editing -- to kill my favorite phrases and most impressive words. If I am that enamored of them -- the words -- then I have probably stopped writing to express and have started just showing off, literary-ily speaking.
So what's the point of this little meditation? Well, I hate writing that always gives "the moral to the story." And I fear I do that too much. So, with editing pen in hand, I have crossed that part out. The moral is ... for you to figure out what the moral of touching the red pen is.