Monday, April 16, 2012

Editing Your Life.

Pulitzer Prize-winner, Jennifer Egan, was here a few months ago and said that a good edit will fix more than one problem.

Yes. That resonated. A good edit has some nearly mathematical elegance to it. Pull out one block from the Jenga that is your novel and you're allowing it to quickly shift into a more stable structure.

But as I thought of this idea today, it felt true of life. If an edit is seen as change -- and edits are changes -- then the right life change should allow other elements of your life -- ones that seem tangential -- to rearrange themselves in positive ways.

As writers go, I'm very open to edits. In fact, I crave good edits.

As people go, I'm less afraid of change than some people. In fact, at a certain point, I crave change. Without it, I start to feel stagnant and restless.

I'd be curious to run a poll on writers -- seeing if there's a correlation between those who resist edits and those who don't like change in their lives.

Even a good edit will have unseen ramifications -- thousands of tiny fissures that run throughout a novel. Change is likewise unknowable (but so is the future, in general).

In a novel, however, you can play God. You can choose not to change a thing. (This might not be the healthiest option for your growth as a writer or for your novel's final draft ... but it's your call.)

In life, however, change is inevitable. Not to decide is to decide, Dave often says. The question is whether amid change, you're going to choose to play an active role in your own life -- or whether, in an attempt to create the facade that you can avoid change and the fear that comes with it, you will allow change to happen to you without allowing yourself access to the helm.