Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

10.12.07

Once upon a time.

I should never have started it. I volunteered. Why? Because I didn't want someone else to make a hash of it.

And now I am in the middle of it, lost and adrift and wishing to be shipwrecked on the shores of a wild inhospitable island where who-knows-what lives; a fate at least less harrowing than washing about on the waves just waiting to drown. At least there might be coconuts on the island. And fresh water when it rains. And a tree for shelter. And maybe a Girl Friday with wild hair and wild eyes and a gently swaying walk ...

I woke up. It was three in the morning; exactly the time - for every writer who ever lived - when the book seems further away and less likely than at any other time of day or night. With a far closer deadline. In fact, the book is impossible at three o'clock in the morning.

By seven a.m. the book's chances have improved and the deadline seems to have loosened a little. Must be the sunshine, warm and caring and nurturing and strength-giving.

I should complain. I'm not even writing the whole thing. I'm editing submissions for an oral history and writing the introductions and the links and the bits that make disjointed sections jointed again and searching archives for ephemera and selecting old photographs to accompany the text and checking facts and factoids and fixing spelling and syntax and wondering how much a writer can edit oral history because then it wouldn't be.

But there are not enough submissions. Nowhere near enough. And those I have are all the same, formulaic.

And the deadline is approaching, like a tiny dot on the horizon turning into the biggest ocean liner you've ever seen.

It would be nice if the Girl Friday has a laptop. Or even a pen. I could dictate.

4 comments:

Dr. Alice said...

Well gosh, KH, for what it's worth I have a pen. And a writing tablet. I can only imagine what it is like to meet a writing deadline... I wish you the best of luck, and I want to see what the finished product looks like.

And if you need other submissions and by any chance they have to do with food, I would be happy to contribute my little bit if appropriate.

kitchen hand said...

Thank you, Dr. A. We would probably decide to stay on the island and throw the book in the sea.

Unfortunately there is precious little about food in the book.

Ian T. said...

It's so hard this kind of thing. I've learnt to say "No!" so effectively (when I used to only be able to say "N-n-n-er-yyes"). The trouble is, I probably say no too often these days.

The trouble with editing, as opposed to writing, is that you are reliant on other people, some of whom are bound to let you down.

Still, if this all comes together it may inform some future writing project of yours.

Tricky work though - best wishes for it!

kitchen hand said...

Thanks, Ian.