Don’t Talk—Edit

Oh my goodness—I just typed “THE END” on the Door of Hope writing group’s book!

It’s not the end. But the hard part is over. The assembling of five years of handwritten pieces; the typing of those pieces by volunteer typists. The merging of all that work into a single document that can be called a manuscript. And last, but not least, the mass shifting of content—like when South America picked itself up and said, “I’m gonna be my own continent”–a task that makes my head hurt. Such is in the rearview mirror.

Now I will rake through the document, combing it into untangled order. This is something I enjoy, the gentle lifting and separating, like a mother playing with her child’s lovely locks. Also, I must write the introduction, the only place in the book (other than my dedication and my remembrance of Robb Pate) where my voice will be heard.

This last part is my greatest accomplishment. Early on, when I would describe my desire not to follow the standard narrative for this book—well-off white person gets involved with actual livers of a life and writes a book about her experience—time and again I was told it wouldn’t work. I was advised to include my voice, that my voice was needed to hold the book together—to, in effect, make the book mine.

I doggedly refused. And if, by organizing and editing, I have created a narrative that readers want to read, I will have done my job.

here’s to creative synthesis . . .


book, Door of Hope, editing, homeless, homelessness, writers, Writing

Comments (2)

  • This is amazing news, Ellen! Congrats to all the writers on their accomplishments and for being brave enough to bleed on paper. You should feel proud of the work you have put into this as well–it’s not about voice all the time. Sometimes it is the gentle handling that brings about greatness, and that is where your voice will leak through. Congrats to you all, and best of luck editing!

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