An Edited life

Downsizing means just that. The capacity for all things material is reduced in proportion to the “down.” For me, this meant tossing a lot of my treasured “stuff” overboard: clothing, books, priceless junk, 40-year-old lesson plans . . . .  The image that kept coming to me was that moving was a lot like editing one of my manuscripts.

The first draft looks like the three-car garage we had at our former house. To fit both cars and all our excess stuff into a smaller home and a two-car garage required a lot of editing. In a manuscript, there are the usual suspects quickly sentenced to extinction: ‘ly’ adverbs, bloated adjectives, those other dead-weight adverbs (like ‘very’ and ‘very, very’). Then there are those nasty, unnecessary duplications (the reader already knows this, so why say it again).

One would think that a professional editor would be a natural at tossing and downsizing. I suppose there is some inbred advantage. But then there are those ‘little darlings’ that have been with me for half-a-century. I appeal to Caesar (actually, my wife Esther) for mercy. Her thumb goes down without a second’s hesitation. But I just can’t pull the trigger. They make the cut, though every bit of my brain matter admits that she is right.

And so, it never fails that, when I read my book in print, I wish I had listened to the editor in me rather than the sentimental hoarder.

(c) 2013 Alfred J. Garrotto

Alfred J. Garrotto is the author of the novel 


About Alfred J. Garrotto

Alfred J. Garrotto grew up in a theatrical family. He began working in films (crowd scenes) at the age of seven. As an adult, life detoured him into Catholic ministry. He is the author of 14 books, 8of which are novels.
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