Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What's past is past.

My freelance colleague V is proofing a book I edited for the nonfiction publisher she and I work for. It was a horrible, messy manuscript: 12 or so different writers, with the lead writer/editor not doing squat to pull it together or even ensure that each chapter was "complete" in terms of the contractual agreement between himself and the company.

She asked me some questions regarding my editing approach to the book, particularly in the area of style. For the most part, I couldn't answer her questions.

Me to V: The reason I block out much of my work is simple: self-preservation, mental health, unloading baggage . . .

V to me: I have selective retention for the same reasons. If you're going to save brain "disk space" for important stuff—bank balances, TV schedules, birthdays, PIN numbers, for instance—gotta let the other stuff go. Can always look it up later if you need it.