Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Editing. A way to make things right.

Looking for mistakes.

I've always felt editing equaled looking for mistakes.
Like this:

EDITING = LOOKING FOR MISTAKES

LOOKING FOR MISTAKES = LOOKING FOR THE BAD AND THE UGLY IN THINGS

LOOKING FOR THE BAD AND THE UGLY IN THINGS = EDITING

And loving, nay, adoring the act of editing, I kind of thought maybe something was wrong with me.
Like this:

LOOKING FOR THE BAD AND THE UGLY IN THINGS = PESSIMISM

PESSIMISM = EDITING = MISTY

And I kind of thought, "Well, Misty, you're just a downer. Get used to being the un-life of every party you ever go to." And I did. I got used to it. I accepted it.

Until last evening when I was discussing editing with Kamrynn. Kammi loves to write stories. She writes lots of them. She writes song lyrics and poetry, and she illustrates them all and dedicates and memorizes them. Kammi is this amazing, creative creature I cannot figure out. For example, Kammi has mastered the art of the spelling test. Perfect scores. But in her creative pieces, her spelling, even on simple words, is simply atrocious. Atrocious like I would be seriously concerned about her if I didn't know she was a whiz kid at spelling.

When I went into her room to tuck her in last night, she was reading a book she had written. As we put her book away, she told me a little about the part she was on (quoted it to me, actually), and said, "But I had to change it a little." She laughed and specified. "It said BFF, and I had to make it BFFs."

Well, obviously.

I said, "That's what editing is all about. It's kind of fun, isn't it?"

She agreed, and we talked some more about it. Then she said, "You write fast," and we talked about how I do my work on the computer, and how yes, it did enable me to work very quickly. She didn't care for my way of working. She got this gleam in her eyes - true, true delight - and said, "Because on the computer, you can't cross things out."

I know where she's coming from. When I write poetry, I write with pen and paper, and as I revise and work words into something pretty and meaningful, I just cross out things that aren't going into the final poem. But it doesn't mean they don't have value to me. They were part of my journey, part of what taught me, led me to where I ended up. I keep them. I have quite a collection now.

That's not the point I wanted to make. The point is that maybe editing does not have to equal pessimism. Maybe I am not always looking for the bad and the ugly and the wrong in things, but instead, I am looking for a way to make them right.

Since I quit working, I have tried to take more opportunities to tuck my kids in at night. They are both getting older, but they both still like it, particularly the lullabies. Tonight as a sang a couple songs to Zach, I had an impression to talk to him, too. So I knelt by his bed and talked to him about the things that came into my mind, and I listened to the things he wanted to tell me, which were all Minecraft related and so innocent that what I felt I needed to say seemed so heavy and unnecessary. Well, that is the long way of saying this:

I told him that when we make mistakes, God doesn't get angry at us and flip his lid. He loves us and tries to help us fix the mess we made of things. I told him that was the kind of parent I wanted to be to him and Kammi. He took it in and then told me about how he could draw a fur trapper's hat onto a picture of his creeper. Or whatever.

I always think it is fascinating how God teaches each of us in the way we will best understand. For Zach, a simple, heartfelt talk with Mom. For Kammi, a love of crossing things out. For me, something as pessimistic (and as lovely) as editing.

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