Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Being Edited

For the last few weeks, I've been working intensely with my editor, refining my manuscript into final publishable form.

I'd had it cloud reviewed, and my wife gave it a great first edit, but this is different.  This is professional, and it feels it.  Any unnecessary vagueness or meandering paragraphs are questioned and challenged.  Imprecision is honed, and conceptual sloppiness is cleaned up.

Not just that, either.  The epublishing house I'm working with is populated by well-read, intellectual Christians, and so my theological assumptions are also being challenged by a friendly but critical eye.  She's willing to simultaneously express her delight at an idea or turn of phrase and let me know that a sentence or thread of thought has wandered off into babbling incoherence.

As the sort of soul who thinks by writing, it's a bit like having someone muck about in your mind.  The whirling fragments of my thought and the flow of my conceptual narrative are altered and reassembled.

And what's perhaps most frustrating, given that my card reads Pastor David, Suuuper Genius, is that the inputs of my editor are making a real difference.

The book is better.

The parts that frustrated me?  Now they flow.  The instances of my compulsive humor that both mystic and scientist readers found occasionally overbearing?   Gone.  It's just plain old better, because it's not just me anymore.  It's me in conversation.  It's my thoughts, in encounter with reality.

It's striking, and it feels vaguely familiar.  In its small way, it reminds me of that encounter we are meant to have with God and our neighbor.

We need to be willing to be changed by those encounters, to listen, and to learn new and more gracious ways of expressing ourselves into the world.   If we're not doing that, if we cling ferociously to our words and our stories and won't let anything change them no matter what, then how can we possibly ever be transformed?

How could we ever turn away from those imperfections in ourselves that stand in between us and the Kingdom?

If we won't be edited, then we will not repent.