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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

 

I Dance Like Everyone's Watching

For just a few years in high school, I loved to dance. Music brought me incredible joy, and I just let everything go. It wasn't sexual or inappropriate, just joyous. Then I started to think about people watching me dance. And I lost the joy.

I don't know if I looked like an idiot, or just felt like I looked like an idiot. Probably both. (And I'm sure frequenting German discotechs didn't do anything for my style.)

Whatever the reason, I can't dance anymore. I dance like everyone's watching--even when nobody is watching.

Editing and writing feel like that sometimes. As I write and edit, part of me needs to think about the people watching. I need to remember to
* serve my audience
* focus my arguments and topics
* not indulge in too much personal reflection.

But there's a danger in focusing on the audience too much. If I'm not careful, I begin to resent the audience--especially when I'm editing. Who are these people? I wonder. Where are they? Why don't they comment more on Ramblin' Dan or great articles like A Burning Bush Would Be Nice? What do they think of my interview with John Medina. Is it too long? Does its view on evolution offend them? When I ask questions like these, I second guess myself. I get afraid. I lose the joy.

Here's the catch. As an editor, my job is to remember the audience. Sigh. Can you tell I have a long stack of essays to work on?

HillCountryWriter Category: Publishing
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Comments:
Mr. Gdyr, plz to rate this limerick I wrote to be attached to pretty flower thing for my sweetie:

"In my absence, a floral arrangement
To settle the rumors of my would-be derangement
(I made that last part up
To spice this card up
And now i can't think of anything to rhyme with arrangement)"
 
Great job! Limyrics are a lost art. Your sweetie should be pleased.

Since you asked, you need an extra beat in line four. Something like this:

i MADE that LAST part UP
to SPICE this DUMB card UP

or some other one syllable adjective, you could change "DUMB card" to "LOVE note" if you wanted to be more positive)

You also need fewer stressed beats in the lines 2 and 5, to match the meter of line 1. Something like this:

in my ABsence, a FLORal arRANGEment
to end RUmors of my WOULD-be deRANGEment
...
now i'm STUCK 'cause nothing RHYMES with arRANGEMENT

You get the idea.

On a related tangent, I spoke with the editor of 32 Poems. He said he significantly edits 50% of the poems they publish. So much for poetry being the unfiltered thoughts of romantics!
 
Who would object to readbale works done by committee than unedited, unreadable trash by a single author? Jerks, that's who.

And thank you for taking the time to make an actual limerick out of it. I was going for more of a half-assed approach with it ("Uh, YES, I MEANT for it to be haphazardly assembled, thx4noticing!"), but the flowers were the important thing.
 
Yeah, I guess I can't help responding to poetry by playing around with it--even when you just wanted a simple ranking.

Simplify, simplify, simplify.

I give it a 10--because there just needs to be more poetry in the world, and love poetry especially. Any effort to create some is a good thing.

Matt, I hope she liked the flowers.
 

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