Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Editor (05/27/10)
TITLE: Who do you think you are?
By Graham Starling
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Now the document was plain and empty, blankness was over the surface of the page, and the fingers of the author were hovering over the keyboard.
And the author said, “Let there be words,” and there were words. The author saw that the words were good, and he separated the plot overview from the story. And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day.
And the author said, “Let the story teem with words; nouns and verbs, adjectives and adverbs, and let there be conjunctions and prepositions to bind them all together.” So the author created the words and bound them together in phrases and sentences. And the author saw that it was good.
Then the author said, “Let us make characters in our image, and let them experience the events of the story.” The words were fruitful and increased in number until they filled the pages of the document. The author blessed the characters, bringing them through hardships to a happy ending.
The author reread all that he had written, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.
Thus the story was completed, for it was only short in length. And the author attached it to an e-mail and pressed send.
By the seventh day the author had finished the story he had been writing; so on the seventh day he rested from all work. And the author blessed the seventh day and chilled in the garden with a cold beer.
On the eighth day there was an e-mail and an attachment to the e-mail. The author opened the attachment and saw a great many red marks; words and sentences crossed through with comments for revision and rewrite throughout.
The author was greatly displeased and became angry. He phoned the editor, "O editor, is this not what I said before I started this story? That is why I didn’t want to send it to you in the first place. I knew that you are a strict and conscientious editor, ruthless in criticism and relentless in pursuit of excellence. Now O editor, tear up my story, for it is better for me that it had never been written.”
But the editor replied, "Have you any right to be angry?"
Then the editor answered the author out of the storm. He said:
"Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
“Are you not a sinful man and the son of a sinful man? Is not everything you do flawed by the nature you inherited?
“Are we not each of us limited in what we can do, and is there not strength to be found in working together?
“Your story is good; I know this as well as you. You write the stories and from your fertile imagination comes something of worth. I cannot do this, but my strength is to see where that which you create can be improved.
“And so I return to you not a tattered and worthless rag, but a garment already splendid and ready to delight, although it would be so much more if it were re-stitched here and there.
“My purpose is not to tear you down, nor to tear your work to shreds, but rather to enable you to be the best you can be.”
Then the author replied to the editor:
“You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’
“Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things to wonderful for me to know.
“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you and you shall answer me.’
“My ears had heard of you but now I have heard your wisdom. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
On the eighth day the author reviewed and rewrote his story, toiling late into the night.
On the ninth day the author reread all that he had written and it was… better.
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