Friday, April 23, 2010

To borrow from Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I'm editing a singularly difficult (read: badly written) manuscript. I can tolerate about six or seven pages at a time before I have to close it out.

My version of Browning's Sonnet 43:

How Do I Hate Thee?

How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.
I hate thee to the height and width of each page
My eyes can reach, when you are within sight
For the ends of anger and frustration.
I hate thee to the level of every day's
Most horrid sensation, by natural and artificial light.
I hate thee freely, as editors strive for coherence.
I hate thee purely, as editors turn from incoherence.
I hate thee with the passion put to use
In my old manuscripts, and with my editor's discernment.
I hate thee with a hate I seemed to keep
With my past work. I hate thee with the gasps,
Frowns, pain, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but hate thee even better when remembering thee after deadline.