Tuesday, March 18, 2008

So this is what bittersweet tastes like.

So I got my copies of the book today, upon returning to my office. All of the sudden it was Christmas morning again, and I was six years old, tearing into my presents on the floor of my parent's living room.

Only what I opened was not mine.

For two years I have anxiously awaited the moment I see my own words in print. As I paged through the book, my finger carefully following the inked out words, my heart sank.

The voice on the page was not mine.

There are three essays of mine included in the anthology. I wrote all three with that urgent, pulling metaphoric tone that has become my definitive writing style. I feel like you would be able to recognize a Megan Gates piece out of a pile of many. And I like that. And I take pride in that. I have cultivated something that belongs to me. My voice.

All three essays were changed so much by the editors, it was as if someone else wrote them.

I understand that by signing that contract two years ago, I gave up some creative freedom. Honestly, I expected that.

But what they reconstructed is foreign to me.

The last paragraph of "Love Letters for Dummies" is not mine and it's terrible. Where is the edge? The sardonic undercurrent? I wrote them into the words expressly and now it sounds like a sappy, harlequin romance essay. Hmpf.

The work I did was good. I am upset that it was changed and not even for the better.

Am I overreacting? Is this naive?

Every single word was picked circumspectly for each sentence that cradles it. Every comma, deliberate. Every line break, invaluable.

All I have are my words and the integrity of who I am as a writer.

And somehow, that was lost.



Peter said...


sam said...

"How often we recall, with regret, that Napoleon once shot at an editor and missed, killing a publisher. But we remember with charity that his intentions were good."
Mark Twain

JenBun said...

I'm SO sorry to read this... it's a crapshoot with any publication. SUCKS! (as Peter so eloquently said, hahaha!)

This is why (as an editor), I advocate a strong working relationship between writer and editor.

I hope your next experience is better.


Tia said...

oh no. that sucks!

dmbmeg said...

I'm adding all editors to "my list".

Hellafied said...

Thanks, everyone.

country roads said...

That's horrible! I guess, though, at least you found someone willing to publish your stuff even though they changed it...I had to do mine myself. But, perhaps you should too. Your voice is wonderful and people need to hear it.

tmamone said...

Man, that bites. Guess I won't submit my stuff to that publisher.