Okay. Here’s what I think. There is a realm we cannot see. Personally, I imagine it resembling one of those old, old office buildings, built somewhere in WWII and never updated. A corridor of yellow linoleum, doors with pebbled glass and hand-painted lettering.
Somewhere in there–probably in the office two doors up from the ladies loo–is a desk. It’s a nice enough desk. The owner keeps it fairly tidy, remembering to change the bright pink gerbena daisy whenever its head droops. She’s junior, but has plans. Accordingly, she thinks inventively, and is known to burn through any file placed in her inbox. She’s got a sly sense of humour which is entirely without fetters because (a) she has no conscience (having jettisoned it as being inconvenient and somewhat heavy) and (b) everyone who works with her recognizes Miss Pointy Shoes WILL go to the top, and so they go mute when she screws up her little nose and says, “I know just how to bring her down!”
Because you see, the girl with ambition works as an undersecretary to Madame Karma. Anything too boring or minor for her haughty hands is sent to Miss Pointy Shoes.
I made a mistake last week. I thought myself capable of writing an article about revision. Someone in the lower offices (I’m thinking Hell), noted that, and accordingly directed Leigh Evans’ file to Karma. She scanned the file, shrugged her shoulders and off loaded it to Miss Pointy Shoes.
That girl read the file, and thought, “I’ve got an appointment with my esthetician for a bikini wax. I have no time.” Then she dropped the desk on the Girl-Who-Works-Too-Hard (and thus, will never get the recognition or raise she deserves), and said, “Make sure this one spends some time in Revision Hell. Okay? Oh, and by the way–” Pointy Shoes glanced down at the name plate positioned dead-square on the tidy desk. “Thank you, Meg. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
Then she walked away, smiling slightly, because she just decided to call that bloke up after all.
And Meg (who sometimes can’t sleep because of the things she’s asked to do) sighed, and stamped “Revision Hell,” on Leigh Evans’ file.
So, here I linger. I’ve got 212 pages of crap ahead of me. 206 pages of supposedly revised crap behind me. I’m feeling a kinship with Dolly Parton. She said, somewhat famously, “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.” Well, Kids, it took a whole lot of time to produce this lousy prose; this potholed plot. I can’t help worrying (because I’m a writer, and we’re full of tiresome angst), even after I’ve agonized over every period and chopped out paragraphs that took me an hour to compose–will some heartless bitch write something as horrible as I once did about a writer whose skill level far surpasses mine? It would be only fair. Today, I inwardly cringe when I recall that glib put-down.
Still. I know that my life-file somehow found its way into The Office of Karma and All That is Painful, I suspect one day, I will be forced to read those very same words. “What ever did she say?” you wonder. Sorry. I’m not going to tell you how I dissed (with Dorothy Parker ease) another’s book. All I can say to right the wrong is this: the woman is a great writer, and one of her books is the one I turn to when I need to forget this world, and go into another.
I’m in Revision. And it is an endless hell.
To anyone who reads book 2. All I can say is that I sweated blood.
Sweet and Dearest Goddess. I hope it’s enough.