I feel like I’ve stepped out on stage, at the Air Canada Centre, in front of a packed crowd totally naked and am awaiting the reaction.
I spoke to my editor yesterday and she told me she was within a week of finishing the edits on Echoes. All of a sudden, I’m not sure I want to know. I must have squeaked or something as she urged me to relax. I trust her and I know that the first time is always the hardest, but yikes!
See the thing is, all authors have images of their work in their head. Of course it is a glistening, well tanned model, flawless and beautiful. But ask any writer and they’ll tell you there were times when it seemed like Mr. Hyde stepped out on stage, hairy and ugly; all his imperfections glaring.
In real life our flaws are magnified to our own eyes. Why do you think those expensive sawdust diet plans that require injections and the abandonment of food with taste are so popular. Plastic surgeons are popping up everywhere as we strive to fix perceived flaws that don’t need fixing. In fact, in most cases those flaws add to, not detract from, who we are.
So it’s no surprise that writers view their books the same way.
I’ve always been of the mind that if you want something done right you have to do it yourself. That said, I love collaborating. Helping my friends with renovations starts with a series of ideas bouncing amongst us each idea adding or improving upon the last until the right plan of attack is realized.
But here I am, attempting a big project by myself. Starting with little knowledge of the process and learning as I go. The are extra parts lying around all over the place and the curtain is about to rise. I am now acutely aware of how gray I’ve gotten, how cruel gravity and good food have been to my form, and how genetics seems to have graced me with the less desirable physical traits of my forefathers.
What is always lost in this process of self-doubt are the good aspects. There are plenty good things about Echoes and I have to remember that. Edits aren’t an attack on me, they are suggestions to improve. It is that detachment that I, and all writers, struggle with everyday. I am getting better at it. It always helps to have an editor that you trust. One whose writing inspires as much as her teaching does.
There is a lot of work ahead, akin to starting a workout, but the end result is worth it.
So no, you don’t want to see me naked, but then again, maybe you do.