Thursday, January 05, 2006

Imperfectophobia

I had one of the scariest experiences of any editor's life today: I received the first bound hard copy of a book I edited. It's a moment that always terrifies me, when the production editor comes over or the art director casually stops by my office door and says, "Hey, look what we have here," and holds up -- the book; the book creator's manuscript/art/heart/soul, which s/he entrusted to *me*; literally years of everyone's hard work, thought, imagination, creation, negotiation, decision, revision. . . . It terrifies me because I'm always so worried I didn't get it right, that I forgot that one credit, I missed that one typo, I didn't catch that one break in continuity; and I almost don't breathe as I page through the book, hardly daring to look closely at the text, even when I know I've looked at it seven times (sometimes seven times seventy times) already and it was always fine then.

Other editors are much more normal about this, I'm sure; my terror is just another function of my boundless Virgoness, and probably a bit too much identifying myself with my job (as tends to happen with jobs one loves). And after my fear subsided, satisfaction crept in; a long release of breath, and I dared to have the thought: "I did good work on this." I took the thought back immediately, as tempting fate, but it popped up again as I walked the book over to the designer and then down to our manufacturing department for approval. I looked again at a few spreads I art-directed; I smiled at that joke I really have read 490 times; I ran my fingers over the shiny embossed type on the cover. Even if it is not perfect, it is beautiful, it is good. And it is finished, and that is cause to celebrate.

5 comments:

  1. MY SENATOR AND ME, by Ted Kennedy, with gorgeous illustrations by David Small.

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  2. Congrats, man! Love the title. (-:

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  3. I'm sure you have made Teddy look great!

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  4. I'm sure it's going to make a huge splash!

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