J. Huffman, Editrix
 
Because inspiration seems to percolate through this ol' gray matter best when I'm supposed to be doing something else today, I'm just going to go with it.  Two posts in one day?  That's crazy talk.

I am scattered and frenzied and unsatisfied with Tuesday.  But in the spirit of goats (I'll explain), I am working to get the hell over that.

Let me tell you the story of the lightbulb moment that caused me toward this editorial pursuit, shall I?  It's brief and, in the end, it's worked out well for everyone.  Except maybe the goat.

So I acquired the iPad, and being the booknerd that I am, I promptly saw to downloading books, samples thereof, essays....anything.  Kindle had a pretty good selection, iBooks was giving away free novels by the dozens.  I picked a few of them up...some were not interesting enough to hold my attention.  Some were well written, well constructed and well...just OK.  Then there was Ransom X. 

I started reading Ransom X and was immediately and irrevocably drawn into a twisted place that was sort of a glorious train wreck.  I was intrigued by the *story* but the grammar and typos and disagreeing spellings of the main character's name just about killed me.  Honestly, I almost couldn't see getting all the way through it.  But the story, it spoke to me.  So I kept reading.  And the story kept getting better and more intense, even as the grammar did not.  The end came with such force and vision that I was literally moved, then and there, to hunt down the author and give some good-natured criticism.

To this end, I emailed the author and said basically this:  I hope that you take this email in the spirit in which it is offered - not a slam on your skills, but as a tool of improvement.  I loved your story so much that I want to help you make it better.  Or at least figure out once and for all which spelling of the main character's name is correct.  I will do it for free.  Please, you owe it to this story to make it legible for many, many people.

Imagine my surprise when I received a reply telling me how generous and unique my offer was and that we had an understanding, complete with a hefty word document attached.

I spent three weeks making those words look pretty.  I was unemployed at the time - it was the perfect way to spend my days.  I took my proverbial red pen and un-capitalized, re-named, re-homed and re-vamped.  I'm sure that there are still errors in it; I am, admittedly, human.

But to return that finished work to the author, confident that it was simply better than when I received it, was one of the best moments of my life.  Because I knew, without a doubt in the world, that this is what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I don't have the patience or the focus to be an author.  I know this to be true.  But I am really, really, really good at being an editor.

The simple passion in recognizing a story for having potential and then coaxing it toward greatness:  this is what I want to do.

How does this relate to goats?  I'm glad you asked.  A co-worker came in on Monday, determined to make this week at least start out on a more positive note than the last one ended on.  She's very very good at thinking positively, often.  Citing an article she'd read earlier, she said that there is not any possible way that a day around our office could be worse than the one this gent recently had:  "Hiker gored to death by angry mountain goat: Robert Boardman, 63, was attacked while eating lunch"

And that, my friends is why goats inspire me today.  Perspective is the single most valuable thing that we are offered sometimes.  Take it in the spirit in which it is offered!



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    About Jenna:

    I love books.  Deeply, passionately, and above almost all else.  Let me help you by editing your book!  jjh.edits@gmail.com