To rewrite or not to rewrite

As I sit here in my writing room, surrounded by shelves full of leather-bound classics, exuding what could only be compared to that “new car” smell of the literary world, I nestle into my pleated leather chair with my faithful Iris setter by my side, as fire reflecting from the stone hearth, dances off  the opposite wall, bathing the room in a welcoming glow. Smoke encircles my head trailing from the cherry-scented tobacco in my pipe.  I let out a satisfying sigh as another wisp of the fragrant vapor exits the corner of my mouth.

I squirm as I ponder the re-writes on my next novel.  As I ponder this vast challenge, I also ponder (I like to ponder a lot) what writers of the past (Hemingway, Wells, Fitzgerald, Poe, etc.) may have pondered when pondering their re-writes; and then with the realization of a baseball careening through your window and into your favorite Ming Dynasty vase,  the reason slams home–they did less pondering and more drinking and opium.

Think about it… you’re a nineteenth century writer.  All you have is a chunk of metal capable of doubling as a boat anchor with angry misshapen levers attached to circular discs. These discs are embossed with letters, numbers, and symbols, which take the pressure of three grown men to push in order to transfer ink to paper. (I think they called it a typewriter)

Now imagine that you have just finished a five hundred page novel and your publisher tells you that you have a mistake on page forty-three, need to add a question mark on page six and twelve thousand words have to be rearranged throughout the novel………what would you do?………………….exactly!  Pop the cork and fill up the pipe!

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….now back to our story.

So, in conclusion, appreciate your computer for the ease it affords you when rewriting or editing your manuscript, for you could be just as easily sucking down a bottle of rum and token opium through a corn cob pipe.

…and just to clear my conscience…. I am sitting in a room with a flat screen TV, in front of a computer with a  27″ monitor and a kickin’ pair of 3-way  speakers (to blast out the cobwebs now and then with some good ‘ole rock and roll).  Besides, I don’t read too many of the classics… not that they are not wonderful books, but most are not quite to my taste…and if there really was an Irish setter in this room, he would be running around in circles like a crazed wolverine chewing up all my classics so that I couldn’t read them if I wanted to…and don’t get me started on the fireplace…

With this, I bid you ado until next time.


1 Comment

Filed under On writing

One response to “To rewrite or not to rewrite

  1. “new car smell of the literary world” – I love that.

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