Monumental day! Ever had that feeling where ten thousand butterflies are floating in your stomach? That’s how I felt this morning, when I had to meet our Publications big boss. And another similar feeling in the afternoon, where I finally got to talk to the very first book author I am editing since I joined the company.
Meet the boss, big time editor of a famous Filipino author. Excellent, speedy and super angry with the slightest hint of bad grammar on a manuscript. I’ve only heard tales; apparently, he was already able to review the half I submitted of Frose. Frose, which took me two to three days to read. He only read in an hour or less.
Frose, by the way, has become a frigging bloodbath, and we’re not yet even halfway through! hahaha. Frose needs a lot of tissue paper when we’re done. I can barely recognize my handwriting in some pages because it’s super muddled with red. Note to self: change color of pen during second phase.
So I sat, quite uneasily. Actually, il est trop gentil. He is very gracious to me, which is good for my bundle of nerves. I felt like a speck of dust talking to a high-rise building. I have such high respect for a person who edited one of the authors whose sage works I read in my college days.
He held the bloodied manuscript in his hands, and I waited with bated breath after we shortly exchanged initial meeting pleasantries. *Drum rolls*
He is super skilled at editing! I would have been a fan if I wasn’t so terrified. He immediately pinpointed two errors in the Preface that I overlooked. *cringe*
Well, he’s been at it for 20 years. I’ve only done 6 in writing and less than 2 years in editing. Sigh.
But he immediately consoled me, which I think is very kind of him. He thinks I’ve done pretty well for a first time manuscript editing task. He likes that it already looks like a frigging bloodbath on paper, which is something we have in common.
Whew. Relief. I passed the initiation to becoming an editor. But that’s just the beginning of a longer journey…
Short moment of glory there. He paused.
Then he proceeds to show me a page of a manuscript he edited. Sigh.
Dare I compare my childish crawl to his lovely masterpiece? If I may compare with a more common analogy, my proof is an amateur local newspaper cartoon. And his proof is the Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
Neat, immaculate and subtle swirls of ink on a very lightly edited manuscript. Deym, why can’t I do that as impeccably as he did? I just keep on murdering Frose as if he were the main character being butchered in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. hahaha.
So yeehah, in spite of those things that I have done in the past 25 years, I know that I am still a looooooong way to go to becoming a master. And I look forward to that day where my proofreading bloodbath will turn into a elegant bloodpact of turning raw manuscripts into dignified books.
The only regret I have is that I did not talk enough. Cat got my tongue. For the life of me, I could not utter an extra word. That’s how nervous I was. I hope there will be a next time where he will find my editing good enough or passable or excellent, and I get to ask him what it’s like editing one of my favorite Filipino authors. Sighs. Please, Lord, give me some strength to actually ask that next time.
If anything, editing has turned me into a more conscious writer. The things I used to take for granted as a freelance writer for six years all came to revisit me today in the manuscript I’m editing. I now cringe at my old reckless carelessness and love my old editors more. Thank God we grow older and we can grow for the better.
(Sorry for the comments I don’t get to approve immediately! There are times in my online life that I keep on getting Error 504 whenever I try to access my site! Agh!)
Tomorrow is another day for me to journey towards becoming a
Tall order right? But I don’t mind. What’s the use of dreaming if you can’t aim high?