sexta-feira, julho 29, 2016

Answer: In other words, everything else: "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" by Raymond Carver, Gordon Lish



“I could hear my heart beating. I could hear everyone’s heart. I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark.”

in “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” by Raymond Carver, Gordon Lish

Imagine the following sentence: “By 8 AM I wake up to go to the bathroom.”

Now imagine the following edited sentence: “By 8 AM I wake up and go to the bathroom to sit on what has to be the unlikeliest throne in Lisbon.”

Which one is better? Uhm...Food for thought...

Ah, those were the days! We need more Zeferino Coelhos (*) in the publishing trade, that's for damn sure. I can’t imagine reading Carver’s tales without Lish’s hand at work. I’m not a writer. That means I can’t imagine the importance of having a fine editor to work on my drivel and change it to something worth reading. If I were a writer I couldn’t imagine a few pleasures as fine as working with a good editor, someone who kept me on top of my game, pushed me to do my best, and allow my drivel to hit the way it ought to hit. Unfortunately, this kind of approach also has downsides, namely adding exposition at every corner, cracking me over the head with a sledgehammer instead of trusting my ability to read between the lines. When I’m reading I need to think. If I don’t have to think, I’m just cruising, and if I’m cruising I’m reading summer books… Not good.


Lish’s editing work simply made the tales better tales. It’s as simple as that. I’m not saying Lish is a better writer than Carver. Want I want to say is that only a certain type of thinker can improve something that already possesses the spark of genius. It's what we really talk about when we talk about writing. I know what I’m talking about. I can't write for toffee myself, but I’m able to recognize Greatness in others. 

(*) Zeferino Coelho was José Saramago’s editor for 30 years; Now that he’s dead, his wife, Pilar del Rio, sold the publishing writes to another publishing house, Porto Editora, for half a million…what money does to people. I know Saramago’s foundation needs a lot of money, but this is too much…

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