Dear Editor

The other day we were talking about the role of a good editor.  Not a copyeditor, though they’re nice, too, but a good developmental editor.  Someone who can say “Um, yes, wasn’t that character a girl 30 pages ago?” or “I think you’d be better served by moving chapter 6 up some,” or if you were Stephen King’s editor, “It’s really great until the end and then it kind of seems like you aren’t sure how to wrap things up.”

It’s hard to explain to folks what a good editor does and so they’re kind of becoming a dying breed.

But a good editor is your most intimate reader.

And, to me, that’s the thing about writing. It can’t be separated from reading.  They are, I think, actually different parts of the same act.  And having a reader who lets you in on his end of things, if you’re a writer, is invaluable.  It sucks and it’s hard on the ego, but it’s invaluable.

I don’t know if we’ll have publishers like we do now, so it’s hard to know if we’ll have editors.

And I’m a little sad about that.

Until I think of you, dear reader.

We do out here in public what used to be done in private.  (Isn’t that part of the joke of this Vanity Fair thing? That they are shaming her, not only by editing her, but by showing work publicly that we perceive of as being done in private?)

I push; you pull. Things that aren’t clear are made clear or fights ensue.

Ha, I can’t remember where I was going with this.

I want to talk about how intimate it feels to edit someone.  But I don’t want to talk about how I came to feel like a whore.

So, let’s just leave it at that.


Okay, fellow gardeners, nm and I have both realized that we have now had a garden full of green tomatoes for two weeks. Tomato plot to drive us all mad?  Not enough sunshine to turn them red? What?

Are we alone?

Also, let’s have some consensus on turning pumpkins and watermelons. I say unnecessary and bound to harmfully twist the vegetable equivalent of their umbilical cords.  The Butcher says, “But they’re getting a white spot on the bottom!” What say you?

Born in Boston in 1587

So, yes, I love, but you have to be aware that, in many cases you are just trading one family myth for another.

I set out, for instance, to try to figure out who my earliest American-born ancestor is.

And I came up with this line–me, my dad, Grandma Avis, Sadie Robinson, Abraham Sanborn, Abraham Sanborn, Daniel Sanborn, Daniel Sanborn, Dorothy Smith, John Smith, Robert Smith, John Smith.

This John Smith, my 9-greats grandpa was supposedly born in Boston in 1587, less than a hundred years after Europeans refound the Americas, which we had forgotten about.  This is quite a feat, considering that there wasn’t a Boston until 1630.  In fact, if John Smith was indeed born in America of British parents in 1587 in the area of Boston, I think I’ve just single-handedly solved the mystery of where the Roanoke colonists went.

But I have to say, I always experienced myself as ethnically bland-German with a little exciting Swede thrown in there for good measure, so it is cool to reconsider myself as a person with a lot of British ancestors on both sides.  It’s also weird, because I assumed we’d all come over in the late 1800s, with the exception of my one strain of Civil War fighting folks, and that is also not the case.

So, yeah, hmm.