Editing blues (and buying long and selling short)

Feeling a bit out of sorts today. I think it’s a combination of things. Firstly, this book I’m editing is taking forever and I have moments when I think it could well be the most boring thing I’ve read this year. Then I feel terribly guilty and I wonder what it would be like if the writer ever read these words. Perhaps I actually want her to read these words (if you follow the twisted logic) and to feel some of the pain that I’m feeling when I work with her words! (She won’t though since she doesn’t know about this blog.)

How about this for a bad opening-sentence (to chapter five)?

As a human being, Lisa could not be faulted for experiencing emotions unique to her lifeworld.

Oh my God! Where do I start? Firstly, “as a human being” adds nothing except make me think of the alternatives (an animal, a rock?)
“Could not be faulted” is passive voice and also makes me think of Wimbledon. “Fault”. But the clincher to this sentence is the phrase “unique to her lifeworld” Are you on drugs? Who speaks like this? New-age hippies on mind-altering hey-shoo-wow gummy berry juice maybe.

Sorry, that is very passive-aggressive of me and I feel suitably ashamed. (And also a little better.)

Other grumbles today:

1) The weather. Fierce berg wind means it will rain later. The air dries out and then of course it gets washed clean again. But in the build-up to the rain I feel edgy and it’s like I can’t quite equalise the pressure.

2) Other stuff. I’m putting in an offer on a house, which is terribly exciting and terribly anxiety-provoking at the same time. I’m waiting for the offer to be emailed to me so that I can fill it out and send it in. The estate agent sounded positive on the phone yesterday but I’m not getting my hopes up too much. I’m also already starting to get that feeling of “buyer’s remorse”.

My buyer’s remorse goes like this: why am I always the one who pays a bit too much for a house but when it’s time to sell, I sell for too little? I don’t feel like going into the ins and outs of this today but I know it has to do with assertiveness and self-belief and ignorance and a general feeling that I’m not quite understanding how this property business works.

3) Then we also have a couple counselling session this evening. I really need that like a hole in the head but I’m also curious to hear what a neutral, experienced observer will say about our relationship (or ex-relationship). We could well discover that we actually want to make this thing work after all. But I don’t want to talk about that here either.

So what should I talk about? Nothing I guess. I’ll post something in a couple of days’ time when I feel that I have something to say …

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19 Responses to Editing blues (and buying long and selling short)

  1. natalian says:

    I detest ‘blue days’ as I know that they are a result of me not being in a good space and the more I try to fight it the worse it generally becomes so I try not to analyse these ’emotions unique to my lifeworld’, on blue days! 😉 (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!) Agreed, this form of writing is tiring, it appears that the author tried a little too hard when constructing that sentence. As for property buying and selling, nobody understands it except the banks and the estate agents but at least you may have your own space soon!

  2. Pete says:

    Natalian – Thanks for understanding. I think that’s exactly it – the more I try to fight it, the worse it gets. So perhaps I should take a break from the editing today. Not in a good headspace so I need to be kind to myself and take things easy. Exercise would be good (to work off my nerves after I sign the offer) and then a bit of calm music. I do feel guilty about the editing – it’s not that bad and in parts it’s really interesting but on mass I think it’s making me a little mad 😉

    Just on that I read a paper in which the psychologist said that our clients should make us a little mad (so that we can experience their madness and give it back to them in a more palatable form). It will be no surprise to you that mothers do that too!

  3. OMG, the “lifeworld”. As a human being, I find that a little odd.

    Sorry you’re having a grim day Pete. Tomorrow will be better.

  4. Editing is a tough job–both my h and sister-in-law have done that and I know how it goes. Hang in there. Good luck with the house!

  5. musingsfromthesofa says:

    If the whole book is like that, you have my whole-hearted sympathy. I too have edited dreadful books…
    Good luck with the house!

  6. Emily says:

    sorry you are off-kilter. as a human being, i know that can be tough.

  7. adevotedreader says:

    Chin up Pete (even though if the passive agreesion results in phrases like “New-age hippies on mind-altering hey-shoo-wow gummy berry juice”it can’t be all bad!)

  8. litlove says:

    That sentence is so bad it’s hilarious – but then I don’t have to fix it. I hope the counselling went well – I can see that you were not quite in the mood, but it’s always interesting in the abstract to see what gets said and what comes out. Sometimes leading with your best resistance (another super subclause for you) can actually provoke something really interesting. As for house buying you have my sympathy. It’s just a hideous process.

  9. Pete says:

    Charlotte, Lilian, Musings, Emily, Devotedreader, Litlove – Excuse the group reply. I got the house!! (claps hands, jumps up and down). Now for the nitty gritty stuff (deposits etc.) And the counselling session went surprisingly well. Looks like we’re back on track. If we can just align our lifeworlds as human beings, no-one can fault us. Will post more soon. Time for some champagne I think.

  10. natalian says:

    Yay!!! Champagne is definately in order! Congrats!

  11. boxofbooks says:

    As a human being, that excerpt made me laugh. Sorry you are having a rough time. But, a new house! Wow. I may be living with my parents forever, so, slightly jealous. I would be really pleased to have my own floors and windows.

    PS – if things get worse, you might want to try reading Wuthering Heights.

  12. litlove says:

    Congratulations on the house!!

  13. Pete says:

    Natalian – Thanks! We celebrated with some House Red.

    BoxofBooks – Will definitely read Wuthering Heights at some point – thanks for the reminder! And there’s nothing like a house for lifting my mood (and providing some stability). But it has been good to stay with my parents again (even at the age of 39). Hope your stay with yours is also proving helpful.

    Litlove – Thanks! You know, it’s such a basic thing (house = self) but it makes such a big difference!

  14. doctordi says:

    That sentence is awesome!!! ‘Lifeworld’ – what does that even MEAN??!! I love it.
    It’s a terrible thing, but other people’s godawful writing really perks me up sometimes… I know it’s dreadful, but I do feel something close to glee reading this. I don’t envy you the edit, though. Just throw us the occasional choice line, please.

    I hope the counselling session went well and was fruitful, or at least what you wanted?

    And big time congrats on the house! Buyer’s remorse? Forget it! More champagne!

  15. Pete says:

    Di – I think my writer is quite attached to her lifeworld. Here’s another gem: “A powerful cycle of learning, self- and respect of others has become evident in her lifeworld …”

    At least she didn’t add the words “unique” or “as a human being”.

  16. doctordi says:

    I’m sorry, but that just sounds like chronic self-absorption and a punishing read. You’re a saint for persevering.

  17. Congratulations on the house! I think you cannot be faulted for wanting that unique addition to your lifeworld.

    My current editing project has characters named Victoria Stigmata and Timothy Tabernacle, so … yeah. I feel your pain, as a human being.

  18. Pete says:

    David – Thanks, my lifeworld needed a laugh today. As for those characters, I hope they’re funny because they sound painful.

  19. doctordi says:

    Victoria Stigmata, where have you *been* all my life?!! CACKLING.

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