Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just asking for trouble, really

Louise Bourgeois, Sleep II, 1967, marble on two wooden timbers, Tate Modern

'Editing is everything. Writing a first draft is akin to moving a big block of marble into a sculptor’s studio. It’s hard, and it requires some finesse, but mostly it’s just heavy lifting. It isn’t art. The art happens when the marble starts getting chipped away to find the Pieta within. And that is the role of the editor -- with luck, in concert with the writer.'

-- Dan Baum, from 'The State of Editing'

As an editor, I can only admire this statement. As a writer, of course I refute it utterly.

1 comment:

Giovanni Tiso said...

From what we know and has been documented of the transition between famous manuscripts and the published works, this seems very generous towards editors, as if it was always a case of Pound turning Eliot's first draft into The Waste Land. Surely that's a limit case.

At any rate I absolutely must link to this.