What the eye arranges

“Pretty isn’t beautiful, Mother, /

Pretty is what changes /

What the eye arranges /

Is what is beautiful.”

Above are some of the the lyrics to the song “Beautiful”  from Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park With George.” These lyrics always make a deep impression on my whenever I hear them, because it is something it took me years to believe. I thought only certain bodies, ones that society often think of as “pretty” or “handsome” were the only bodies that were “beautiful.” Over the years, and through meeting my husband, I understand what Sondheim is saying here more and more. However, it isn’t until recently that I saw the connection between the song and editing.

I’ve been saying for a while now that I need to print my manuscript out. I’ve attempted to avoid this as long as possible, because my novel is long. To print it out at a Kinko’s I would have to pay $40.00. When I told some of my friends I felt like I “HAD” to do this, many were confused. After all, I have an iPad! Why would I need to print it out? It took me a while to figure it out, but finally I did. When I am editing my work on an iPad or a laptop, I find it very difficult to write a note that tells me to come back. After all, I have the ability to fix it now, why not just do that? The issue is, I need to be able to read my book as a reader. I’ve never managed to read more than a few pages without breaking down and spending an hour fixing things. That is why I need to print it out and make my notes with a pen.

Armed with a pen and paper, I feel less pressure to perfect a sentence. Often because if I tinkered with it on the page I probably could run out of space before I fix my issue. Since I won’t be stopping I will have the rare chance to read my novel straight through. This is something I desperately want to do for a few reasons. The most important one is that I need to remember what it feels like to write in the voice and point of view of my character. The tiny edits I’ve been doing over the past 2 months have not required me to write anything new. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to write through the eyes of my narrator. I need to rediscover this to put the finishing touches on my book.

I am fortunate that I plan to do this while I am vising my parents. The few friends of mine that still live in the area will have to work during the day, so I will have that time to chat with my parents, but also to read my book. They also have an actual PC desktop, which means I won’t have to worry about my finger accidentally hitting the mouse and deleting parts of my book (it happens more than I care to admit). I’m hoping the 7 days I have in my hometown will help me push through to the end. I don’t know if that is really enough time to actually completely finish revising my novel, but I am determined to try.

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