Editing has somehow developed a routine for itself. Feedback from my writing group gets turned into comments marching down the right-hand side of the document. Sometimes there are so many they shrink one another and the lines to them make the marks on the page look like espaliered fruit trees. The comments wait for weeks, even months, if writing another section, or something altogether different, takes precedence. No matter how long getting to them takes, the first few words of each bring back the context, remarks others made, and my reaction at the time, which often changes when the manuscript is revisited. In fact, getting to the comments first thing the next morning has taught me that ensuring they’re thorough, then letting them ripen a while, leads to better results. I think. And hope.
The words of the title, reading sounds, offer many interpretation possibilities. Here, I mean rhetorical tools like onomatopoeia and parallelism. Alliteration is the one that comes so automatically, I sometimes edit it out, fearing overuse. A teaching colleague, Grant Reynolds, showed years ago how the rhythm of English can help those learning the language. Hearing the words, audible only to me as the lines grow across my screen, convinces me not to change what just appeared to the terser ‘English’s rhythm’. Yet daring to compare writing to composing music is a step that scares me.
Back home from the Xmas party. Met fellow member Dan Falk, who fascinated our table by explaining how he wrote “The Science of Shakespeare,” his most recent book. Wish he’d written it while I was teaching high school English! He’s giving a talk next month, Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 7pm, at the Toronto Public Library’s Leaside branch.
Chatting about our upcoming AGM and conference in Fredericton in May brought back memories of PWAC participation in MagNet conferences in Toronto. Here’s an old photo of a fine day.
Most important are the students. Showing fun, fear, boredom, bliss, the daily ripples and that once-in-a-lifetime massive comber, hosting readers so they can get to know the students, is the goal. The manuscript consists of twenty vignettes, each about one or more students in a high school class, and twenty pieces to fit between the vignettes. The other pieces vary: a little poetry, a couple of rants, some out-of-classroom tales, an open secret or two about grades and exams… Now that the first draft’s done, an editing priority is pushing the person telling the stories into the background as much as possible. It’s a challenge. There isn’t much overlap among the characters from chapter to chapter, with one exception, the narrator. A trick: ask who is this happening to? If the answer can only be the writer, mentioning the writer isn’t necessary.
You’ve figured out the memoir’s about teaching high school. And you’ve noticed this blogpost has no first person pronouns. Somewhat clumsy: practicing, experimenting continue. Hope you’ll keep reading as the editing generates more lessons and they’re shared.
All publications listed are by members of the club’s literature section. The Toronto Heliconian Club, more than a century old, gathers women in the arts. Info on upcoming events is often posted outside the club, 35 Hazelton Avenue, in Toronto’s Yorkville.
Bacchanalia: short story
My Father’s Hands: poem
Beyond Blood, Christmas, Cook’s Temptation, Disability Matters, Envoys, Fireflies, Hivernante, Laundry Lines, Picnic, Sounding, Stone Woman: books available for purchase online, some also in public libraries
Point of Order: book published by Toronto’s Ruskin Literary and Debating Society
Electoral System: Science for Peace lecture, link below (scroll down)
Geography, Tom Thomson’s Fine Kettle: forthcoming books