Editing Galore

Editing Galore

I thought that editing the Milton Katims’ piece for Music Journal stretched my editing skills to the max. I was a 24 year old freelancer when I picked up an assignment that curled my dendrites to a tight coil. What he could induce with his baton was one thing (he conducted the Seattle Symphony for more than two decades) but decipherable he wasn’t.

What I guess I’m trying to explain is that I’m not a novice at editing. I was rewrite editor for my JHS newspaper (quite a title, I know), editor of of my high school paper, edited a weekly shipping journal, hey, this isn’t Linkedin.

I’ve done my fair share of word trimming. And this wasn’t my maiden voyage as co-editor of my alma mater’s alumnae bulletin. Oh, but with a 1000 word cap and an accelerated three week deadline to collect reports from my classmates about what’s going on, not to mention their Reunion impressions — and then write it all up! So it was a double-header: traditional news plus elated Reunion submissions. I was characteristically worried and feared that my classmates had already written all they wanted to say in the wonderful Reunion Booklet — or were too exhausted to write after a lively 45th Reunion weekend.

Waiting for news-laden emails to land in my in basket is a flawless strategy for keeping my fingernails short. Two of my highly esteemed classmates missed the deadline for the reunion booklet which allowed us to ramble for pages. Late but not sorry they redirected their lengthy narratives my way to keep me busy with my scissors. My in basket eventually filled up with about 3000 words … that’s three times over the limit!

And lots of pictures to choose from and caption. All wonderful but many just so slightly out-of-focus.

One especially accomplished classmate shot me an email to see how things were going and when I groaned about the word count, she offered a solution. Forget about her words and just pick her two photographs. Forget the fact that she is one of the most frequent sights in our class notes.

Did I get my task done? Did I have a choice? I gained two pounds gorging myself on organic Triscuits and almonds and walnuts, not to mention sharp cheddar cheese slices, kiwis and carrots … But I made the deadline! Somehow…

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