27 March 2014

0 peer pressure

fyi, this is what you get when you google 'woman editor'

i'm doing a peer review for a journal. it's double-blind, so they'll never know who i am and i'll never know who they are.

it's the first time i've edited the writing of someone who wasn't my BFF since word got round the campus of mississippi state that i was a good reader and random people in random comp classes would solicit my editorial help. so it's been awhile.

and i'd forgotten how weird it is. the strange relationship that arises as you engage with the work of someone you do not and likely will not know.

because, in many ways, it's an intimate act. editing. an undressing of the work. a peering into the interior of the ways in which it operates and an examination of the ways in which it's going wrong.

or, to be more precise, the ways in which it's not doing what you think the person who wrote it wants it to do and what readers who read it will want it to do.

ok, maybe it's more like a genealogical exam, but there's still an intimacy at play.

i've read this particular essay 10 times now. first, to read it as a normal reader. second, to determine whether it was worthy of revision or warranted rejection. and then all the subsequent other times to do the actual editing.

and that was all on the hard copy. only this morning did i move to the file.

at this point, i'm totally rooting for the work of this person i do not know. i want it to be better, yes, but i want them to persevere. it is my new great fear that he/she will back away in horror from all the pink balloons i've blown up in the margins and entirely give up.

but maybe, hopefully, they'll do as i do when croftie returns something similarly littered with comment bubbles. they'll give up only to come back to it, realizing that if someone took the time to have so many thoughts about the work, they must've found value therein.

and this is what you get when you google 'lady editor'

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