Ever wonder what it’s like to edit a book? Your book? The one you slaved over for months, only to turn around and have to go through it all over again with a painstaking attention to detail? I’m here to tell say it turns you into Jack Nicholson.
Because if you’re like me, you start out a normal person… more or less. In your daily life, you’re well-liked. People laugh at your jokes. They invite you to shit. You never go, but you’re invited. That has to count for something, right? Okay, so maybe you’re a teeny bit anti-social. And maybe you’re not that funny. And, fine, you’re awkward around crowds, but the point is you look normal, like Jack here before the crazy happens.
So you sit at your desk, put all of your shit at right angles to your laptop, grab several shiny new pens, and wonder why you’ve been procrastinating editing your book. It’s probably fantastic. It’s literary genius. The shit dreams are made of. You pat yourself on the back and head forth bravely.
And then you get a few chapters in and all that coffee starts to make you jittery and a little on edge. Did someone steal your post-its? Internally, you snarl at the mere thought of someone coming close to your desk.
You really have to pee. But you’re in the middle of a long scene, and if you get up now, it’ll break the momentum. So you tell yourself to wait until you’re done, kidney function be damned.
Eventually, the long hours catch up to you, and you have to give in and take a nap. But even when you’re sleeping, you’re thinking about your story.
By the weekend, everyone in your life knows to leave you the fuck alone. Because you’re grumpy. And you smell. Because it’s been a few days of you planted in that chair, the one that still has the imprints of your ass cheeks in it when you get up.
When you can’t stand the smell of yourself any longer, you finally duck into the bathroom for a quick shower. While this sucks up precious time, you figure you can probably go another 48 without another one if no one gets too close. But showering means you should treat yourself for making the effort to conform to polite societal standards, so you forego a bra because that fucker is binding. Can underwire constrict blood flow? It might affect brain function, so you decide against it.
Mid-way through your work of genius, you can’t decide if this is the best thing you’ve ever written or the worst. It could be crap. Utter crap. Total shit.
Why does the pizza guy eye you with such judgment when he drops off dinner tonight? Didn’t you give him a good tip last night? Pizza guys shouldn’t judge your dinner. Cheese is dairy, and milk does the body good. Fuck off, asshole. Hand over the pizza.
Damn it. This is crap. And you suck balls, loser.
You’re crying. This is wrong. Everything. Is. All. Wrong. Why didn’t you listen to your mother and go to dental school? You could be drilling in someone’s mouth right now and battling gum disease instead of writing crappy books.
Wait a sec. This is pretty good. You like it. No, you love it. Have you ever loved anything more? No! Okay, not true. You love Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall more.
Oh my god. Your book is funny. It’s so funny, you’re going to spell it with a ph, like phunny because now it’s fucking hysterical.
Why is there shit all over your desk? Who put that there? Don’t people know you’re trying to work? You’re in such a foul mood, you even hate that cute little dog next door. Fucking dog, shut up.
Oh, you put that shit there. Because you were in a rush to get back to editing, so you just shoved those bills and that that half-eaten slice of pizza there in a rush. Really, you were being efficient. Now you can get back to your story.
Jesus, what day is it? Is today a holiday? Do you have to go back to your day job and live among sane people? Is that even possible at this point? When was the last time you changed your clothes? You’re disgusted with yourself but too tired to do anything about it. Besides, you’re achieving your editing goal, so fuck good hygiene. Finishing the book comes first.
Your loved ones poke you with a stick. They bring you coffee because they’re afraid if you stop drinking it, you will lose your shit. They’re right. Already, you can feel your eye twitching at the thought of an empty coffee mug. When you reach for it to take one more sip, pain shoots up your arm. Oh, hell. You might have scurvy from only consuming coffee and pizza all week.
After starving and forgoing human contact, you get to those two beautiful words: The end.
Cue the rock anthem because you’re done. You dance around in your pajamas and kiss your children who are surprised to see you this month. You pet that cute dog next door when you emerge outside for the first time in days. God, he’s a cute little fucker.
You wake up the next morning and stare at your computer screen. Dear baby Jesus, you need to send this to your editor today so you can start this process all over again in a few weeks. But you can do this. You shadow box in your hell hole of an office and blast Rocky-theme music to pump yourself up. Because you are a champion. A motherfucking gangsta. *side glance to the family members who look at you like you’re crazy* After an uncomfortable silence, they pat you on the head, make one more pot of coffee and prepare to be ignored all over again.
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