Monday, February 13, 2012

Commas and Pomegranates

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I’ve gotten my book back from an editor. To me, it looks like she sprinkled it with little red commas. I scroll through page by page, considering all her commas and suggestions. I fall asleep. And then wake, keep myself alert by eating cookies, telling myself that someone out there, someone without little red commas, may love my book almost as much as I do.


Because while I loved writing the book, I don’t love editing it. For the umpteenth time.

I don’t know why, but this reminds me of the pomegranate tree in my yard. My pomegranates have split their seams. No longer nice, round red balls—they’ve morphed into inside out pomegranates- exposing their bright seeds for the birds to eat. For many years, my dog would growl and lunge at the fruit, thinking they were toys, balls, being held purposefully out of her reach. She’d bark and jump and when she’d get a hold of one, she carried it around the lawn proudly. Any pomegranate silly enough to grow less than three feet off the ground died a slobbery death. My piano students also loved the pomegranates. I’d feed them the fruit and send the surplus home to their families.

I no longer teach piano and my dog is too lazy to chase the pomegranates. They’re going to seed on the tree. Really, they’re no better or worse being inside out--—they are just different.

Which is a lot like writing/editing my book. The story isn’t radically changed with all those little red commas, it’s just different. And the umpteenth time around isn’t nearly as entertaining as when the story was brand new.

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