Two words: track changes. Let's poll the audience. Humor me, show me you are reading. Just like those Facebook requests, you know, the ones that ask you to prove your worth by cutting and pasting an ala-carte request. I don't know about you, but I find myself worth nothing since I haven't yet mastered the task of being able to cut and paste Facebook posts; the very foundation, the epicenter of my ability to prove I care. So, undercut by my social networking ineptness, I am misunderstood. What I am asking of you is a simple button push, no cutting, no pasting, no judgement, a simple anonymous Mr., Ms. or Mrs. Pointer tap. The feeling of accomplishment once completed will remain with you for weeks. Now, time to get to it!
So why the survey? Because Track Changes has been my life since Brandylane/Belle Isle Publishers agreed to publish Grow with Me Poetry. And do you want to know a secret? I had never even heard of track changes before that. I'm sure my mid to late twenty something editor didn't notice. Oh wait, that was probably why she sent me a link to "how to use track changes." It's ok, I was not even insulted. I know my limitations and swear by them, but now, I can honestly say I can manage them, at least in a fashion that I imagine my poor editor's eyes have ceased rolling upon opening a returned manuscript.
I have to admit; I was a bit intimidated by the thought of the editing process. Firstly, I didn't even know what editing in the year 2019 meant. To date, I had only published two articles; one that discussed noise induced hearing loss and ganglion cell regeneration in quail (who knew people even wrote about such things, hmm?) and the other which discussed newborn hearing screenings in early 1990. Both were research articles published between 1987 and 1995 and the editing began and ended with a red marker! Secondly, some pesky post concussive vision issues really hamper my ability to read and I found myself intimidated at the impending task given the high probability of error.
I received a warm welcome in the form of an email from a Catherine "Haley" Simpkiss, along with the first of what would be many edits. I think our relationship grew in the way people my age would understand a pen-pal relationship grows. We learned about each other's style and personality by the content and tone of our comments as we wrote back and forth within track changes. Now, I must digress. For those of you having no knowledge of track changes, it is Microsoft Word's way of keeping track of changes that are made within a document. You can use simple speech bubbles to open up a dialogue regarding changes, ideas and questions. The document is sent back and forth between people who either accept or reject those changes and progress through the document until its completion. It is the computer version of a jillion drafts marked in red ink and communication minus a conversation involving live voice.
As you know by now, I like to let my, pictures speak for me, and as you can clearly see, while there was a learning curve involved in my experience with track changes, with every edit I did get better. However, nothing can replace an old fashion, face to face meet and greet. I met with Haley one time during our editing process and that was to share Thai food and chit-chat. I found her to be a most lovely and talented young women wise beyond her years. We talked more about this and that than the book and the process of writing, but that is what we needed, just a little way to get to know each other in a world where almost everything is computer oriented and you really can interact and complete jobs without ever seeing the wizard behind the great red curtain. But honestly, where is the fun in that?
Grow with Me Poetry is all about re-introducing interaction between generations, and in my case two generations talked comfortably nonstop through a 2-hour delicious lunch, getting to know each other and the how our worlds had intersected. What followed was an even stronger pen-pal track change relationship, one where we were comfortable "accepting and rejecting" ideas and molding Grow with Me Poetry into a final edited copy that is now ready for the "design phase", where a book becomes a book!
In the grand checklist of accomplishments working towards the final copy in hand, three major items have been crossed of the list:
blog with me