"The truth is you have to learn how to be edited just as much as you have to learn how to edit," he says. "And learning how to be edited teaches you a lot about writing, about distance and objectivity and humility, and ultimately about yourself."- Gary Kimata
I got a call from a dear pal. She was calling to check on me. "You haven't been blogging for awhile, are you all right?"
"Thanks," I said and meant it. I don't have many people checking up on me and this friend has been one (a friend) for a good long time. She checks when you doesn't see the evidence of 'writing' because writing is the knotted cord, the Rapunzel's locks that tells her I'm in the zone, in place, or at least writing my way through things.
Behind-the-scenes I am working on incorporating the critique and editing of my latest writing, a fairy tale. It's not easy, and I'm honestly not much practiced in being edited. Some people are of the opinion that if you're writing for yourself (and not writing to be 'published' and paid) blog. Somehow that made sense to me, but doesn't sit well with the many parts of me that are prideful and Leonine. As I've blogged, I've gotten better at the venue, and used it to chronicle the inexplicable, the darkness and the loss; but there has always been the vein of grace and hope and finally, a place for joy and lightness.
Being edited is a process I've avoided for decades. Moving from personal journals onto the immediately gratifying experience of the blog has allowed for much experimentation, and healing. Did I know the writing, and publishing of my medicine story would lead here: to editing? No, I did not. But, likened as editing has often been to being in the hands of a sharp knife, I can apply that comparison to my life during the recent past. I had a biopsy on an ugly growth. I feared the procedure because of my sensitivity to the chemicals common in a medical setting, and feared as well an outcome I could not afford. My fears were unfounded on the one hand, and justified on the other. The growth was benign, but the setting was toxic. Recovering from the chemicals took weeks, but I am better now.
The notes and suggestions for editing The Safety Pin Cafe sat for days and I considered the changes offered me. Was I so in love with the story that I could not allow for a tweak here, or a major rewrite there? During the past week, and now as the 'Ole Moon Phase of four completes itself today, I have rewritten the first "Act" of segment and it is a major shift. My first reader, Pete, my husband has read the rewrite, and re-read the original draft. We have talked about it. I'm mulling things over. I'm writing about the process here. My editor gave me a set of general questions to answer.
Who is your main character at the beginning?My answers to those questions led to a fork in the road, a choice on my part. What would I do with that original story after I answered the questions? And, would I take all the advice to heart or only take what I like and leave the rest (a bit of 12-step advice I have pondered for decades).
What is her journey?
Why is she on it?
How does she get on it?
What contributes to and what detracts from it's success?
Who is your main character at the end?
To weave the tale and make use of this blog space, I braid some inspiration, and hank of hair from the fairy tale Rapunzel to make sense of the journey of learning to be edited here. A brief snip from Wikipedia about the original fairy tale Rapunzel describes the plot:
A lonely couple, who want a child, live next to a walled garden belonging to an enchantress. The wife, experiencing the cravings associated with the arrival of her long-awaited pregnancy, notices a rapunzel plant (or, in some versions of the story, rampion), growing in the garden and longs for it, desperate to the point of death. On each of two nights, the husband breaks into the garden to gather some for her; on a third night, as he scales the wall to return home, the enchantress, Dame Gothel, catches him and accuses him of theft. He begs for mercy, and the old woman agrees to be lenient, on condition that the then-unborn child be surrendered to her at birth. Desperate, the man agrees. When the baby girl is born, the enchantress takes the child to raise as her own, and names the baby Rapunzel. Rapunzel grows up to be the most beautiful child in the world with long golden hair. When Rapunzel reaches her twelfth year, the enchantress shuts her away in a tower in the middle of the woods, with neither stairs nor a door, and only one room and one window. When the witch visits Rapunzel, she stands beneath the tower and calls out:I can relate to the opening of this tale, a version more true to the telling than Disney's. The craving of a woman "the wife, experiencing the cravings associated with the arrival of her long-awaited pregnancy, notices a rapunzel plant (or, in some versions of the story, rampion), growing in the garden and longs for it, desperate to the point of death." My own craving for stories that tell the truth of things through myth is powerful in me. The price for the craving is often more than I've bargained for. Fairy tales with their deep roots in magic and tendrils wound through human nature prickle at things that I would just as soon be kept secret. But ... part of my best good comes when the secrets are composted into story!
- Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair, so that I may climb the golden stair.
Astrologically, that pack of Pisces will be backing up soon, and this old Scorpio with antennae as sensitive as cat's whiskers feels things. So, I've been picking up Mercury in its own shadow thing. Here's part of what Elsa wrote about the Mercury Retrograde beginning February 23, 2012.
We’re talking about people who are angry and don’t know it. We’re talkin’ sneaky, misguided attacks, purposeful brainwashing / gaslighting and the like. It’s entirely possible that you mind (Mercury) fuck (Mars) yourself, so I highly recommend you find an positive outlet for this energy.
For example, you can direct your imagination to serve others. You can be driven (Mars) by compassion (Pisces). You can communicate with sensitivity and you can pray.
You can also transcend your mental confusion. You can escape it, but this is rarely a strong suit for Mercurial types which is why I expect a soupy mess! Just remember that Pisces has the potential for self-undoing. If you find yourself indulging in this, head in the other direction! Also, remember the old adage, “Never try to reason with a drunk”! Odds are you’re going to run into a lot of them.
Astrology, like fairy tales, offer insight and application, warnings and opportunity. I read in Elsa P.'s advice this particular medicine "It’s entirely possible that you mind (Mercury) fuck (Mars) yourself, so I highly recommend you find an positive outlet for this energy." Learning to be edited may be the positive outlet if I am aware to side-step the mind fuck and be in charge of the length of my own hair.
How am I? Still braiding Jt. Still braiding.
From Tangled the Disney version of Rapunzel