Sunday, May 23, 2010

Life Editing Imitates Art

Often, far too often, editing can drive you a little nuts—and every once in a while, totally batshit crazy!

There are, quite literally, hundreds of ways that this profession can be hazardous to your mental health. Count me among the many editors who would place authors, for what they do (sins of commission) and/or don't do (sins of omission), squarely at the top of the list. Next on the list would be a very distant second indeed.

An editor friend made reference to the classic 1944 film "Gaslight" to describe his current editing project. This is probably the best metaphor I've ever heard for what editing can, on those TBC occasions, feel like.

Here is what "Paula" (Ingrid Bergman) says to her husband, "Gregory" (Charles Boyer) after he gets busted. It perfectly mirrors what many editors feel with regard to some of our authors:

"If I were not mad, I could have helped you. Whatever you had done, I could have pitied and protected you. But because I am mad, I hate you. Because I am mad, I have betrayed you. And because I'm mad, I'm rejoicing in my heart, without a shred of pity, without a shred of regret, watching you go with glory in my heart!"