I once had this editor who’d go through my manuscripts and put a capital letter after every colon or semicolon, like
Here we are: Eleven penises. What did I tell you?
You never knew where they’d pop up. One minute you were alone; The next, eleven penises.
He did it after em dashes too. It was totally—What’s the word?—Obnoxious. I stopped using colons, semicolons, or em dashes at all, knowing he’d be there to make it weird.
I had this other editor, more recently, who kept a list of banned words. I couldn’t use bamboozled, woolgathering, eavestroughs, or slit (in a vaginal context). She wanted me to use pussy, but I can’t stand that one. I should’ve put cooze. Nothing’s worse than cooze. She’d have been begging for slit after cooze.
…okay. I’m done.
I haven’t had her in a while, but if our paths cross again, I’ll go hey, don’t I know you? I’m bamboozled, been woolgathering all day, but…augh. It’s no good. Leaves in the mental eavestroughs, don’t you know? (I’ll leave out the slit. There are limits.)
I’ve only had one dreadful editor. He sent an e-mail to my boss, which she forwarded to me, and the first page was a critique of my work. The rest, which my boss hadn’t read, was devoted to my age, nationality, and level of education. It contained, y’know…jokes. I pretended I hadn’t seen them. I’m sure I wasn’t meant to. But I’m not that old, or that British, or that stuffy. I don’t use words nobody knows. (The offending word was ogre. Who hasn’t heard of an ogre? Fucking Shrek!)
That must be how James Kelman felt when he got nominated for the Booker Prize and everyone made fun of his Weedgie dialect. Only, he got a Booker Prize. I got…well, butthurt. Again.
Want to hear something silly? I started this entry so I could talk about my best editor. She always made time for me, answered questions, stayed to chat. She made me reading lists, not for work, just books she thought I’d like. I miss her. I’ve looked for her, but we only talked on Slack. I never caught her last name, and she didn’t have mine (or my real first name, now I think of it). I should stop making up names. I’m impossible to find.
(Maybe she never looked for me.)
(I’d like to think she did.)
Anyway, it’s quarter past twelve, which means I can’t have the bean salad I was saving for dinner. It expired on the twentieth. It’s fifteen minutes into the twenty-first. Sed fugit interea, fugit inreparabile tempus, and I get no dinner. Well, cooze.